Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz's cancer therapy developer raised $150m despite reducing the number of shares in the IPO and floating beneath its range.

Biontech, a Germany-based immuno-oncology therapy spinout of Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, will go public on the Nasdaq Global Select Market today in a $150m initial public offering. The company priced 10 million American Depositary Shares, each equating to one normal share, at $15 this morning, giving it a fully diluted valuation of $3.9bn. It had originally intended to issue 13.2 million ADSs priced between $18 and $20 per share. Founded in 2008, Biontech is developing cancer treatments based on the proposition that each patient’s cancer is unique and therefore requires individualised treatment. About $100m of the IPO proceeds will fund clinical trials for three drug candidates – for advanced melanoma, HPV and head and neck cancer, and breast cancer respectively – which  are being developed from the company’s FixVac platform, utilising a combination of shares cancer antigens. The $100m block will also support research and development activities for three more candidates which are being developed in partnership with pharmaceutical Sanofi and peers Genentech and Genmab respectively. Another $30m will go to advancing more drug candidates through phase 1 clinical trials while $4m has been earmarked for additional preclinical product candidates and $3m for the expansion of Biontech’s laboratory and manufacturing facilities. MIG Fonds and Strüngmann Family Office provided Biontech’s initial financing before it raised $271m in a February 2018 series A round led by Redmile Group and backed by investment and financial services group Fidelity Management and Research (FMR), Invus, Janus Henderson Investors and family offices including Strüngmann’s, which invested $60m. Pfizer supplied $120m in equity, upfront and research funding for Biontech through an August 2018 research and development agreement, and joined FMR and an unnamed existing shareholder in a $55m private placement in October according to the IPO filing. Sanofi invested an amount described in the filing as $92.1m in January 2019 through the extension of an existing R&D partnership. Pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly was then issued $43m in shares in April to convert existing shares in subsidiary Biontech Cell & Gene Therapies. Biontech’s last funding was a $325m series B round in July led by FMR and backed by Redmile Group, Strüngmann Family Office, MiraeAsset Financial Group, Jebsen Capital, Steam Athena Capital, Invus, Platinum Asset Management and BVCF Management. Strüngmann Family Office vehicle AT Impf held a 51.5% stake in Biontech that is being cut to 49.2% in the offering. Its other notable investors are Medine, a holding entity for co-founder and CEO Ugur Sahin (18.4% post-IPO),…

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