Investors including co-founder and Harvard professor Timothy Springer scored exits as mRNA therapy developer Moderna floated in the largest biotech IPO of all time.

Moderna, a US-based messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics developer exploiting research conducted at Harvard University, raised approximately $604m in its initial public offering last Friday. The IPO, the largest ever for a biotech company, consisted of almost 26.3 million shares issued on the Nasdaq Global Select Market priced at $23.00 each, up from 21.7 million shares when it set a $22 to $24 range late last month. The offering valued it at approximately $7.52bn. Moderna is working on mRNA drugs and vaccines, and has advanced 21 product candidates into development, 10 of which have gone into clinical studies. The spinout is based on research originally conducted by Derrick Rossi, associate professor in the pathology department at Harvard Medical School. Rossi co-founded Moderna with fellow faculty member Timothy Springer as well as Kenneth Chien, a professor in Karolinska Institute’s department of medicine, Robert Langer, institute professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Noubar Afeyan, chief executive of venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering. The company will put up to $420m of the proceeds into drug discovery, clinical development and the growth of its manufacturing capabilities. Between $90m and $100m of the IPO proceeds will go to developing its mRNA platform. The offering came in the wake of almost $1.75bn in funding, with Moderna most recently raising $125m in funding from Merck in May this year, three months after a $500m series G round featuring Alexandria Venture Investments, part of real estate trust investment Alexandria Real Estate Equities. The round reportedly valued Moderna at $7.5bn and included financial services provider Julius Baer, Fidelity Management & Research, Viking Global Investors, ArrowMark Partners, BB Biotech, Sequoia Capital China, Pictet, EDBI and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Moderna had closed a $474m round in September 2016 that included $140m from AstraZeneca, which followed $450m from AstraZeneca, Alexion, Viking Global, Invus, RA Capital Management and Wellington Management Company the year before. AstraZeneca’s 8.4% stake was diluted to 7.8% in the offering. Moderna’s other notable shareholders are Flagship Pioneering (17.9% post-IPO), company CEO Stéphane Bancel (9.2%), Harvard professor Timothy Springer (5.3%) and Viking Global Investors (5.1%). Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are joint lead book-running managers for the IPO while BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital and Piper Jaffray are book-running managers. Oddo BHF, Oppenheimer, Needham & Company and Chardan are co-managers. The underwriters have a 30-day option to buy an additional 3.94 million shares, which would push the IPO to $695m. Moderna’s shares closed at $18.84 on its first…

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