Biotech Company Moderna Therapeutics Inc.’s (NASDAQ: MRNA) shares declined in their first day of public trading, after raising USD 604 Million amid a record year for stock market debuts by biotechnology companies.
The stock opened at USD 22 on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange under the symbol MRNA, 4.3% below its initial public offering price. The stock recently traded down about 6.5%.
The Cambridge, MA-based Company expanded the size of its offering on Thursday to sell nearly 26.3 million shares at USD 23 each, in the middle of the marketed range of USD 22 to USD 24 a share, according to a statement. The offering gave Moderna a market value of about USD 7.85 Billion, topping its USD 7 Billion valuation after a USD 500 Million private funding round in February.
Biotech companies have been racing to sell stock this year in an attempt to capitalize on growing investor interest in medical innovation and generally rising market. Ahead of Moderna’s debut, 53 biotech firms have gone public this year on U.S. exchanges, raising USD 5.7 Billion in total and topping the previous record of USD 5.27 Billion raised in 2000.
Moderna has drawn much fanfare, luring investors on the promise that its messenger RNA technology will bring new treatments for cancer, heart disease, and other diseases. The Company, established in 2010, has 21 programs in development. Its most advanced experimental product is in the middle stages of clinical testing.
Proceeds from the IPO will be used to fund drug discovery and clinical development, the Company stated. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Moderna reported a loss of USD 243 million on revenue of USD 100 Million, compared with a net loss of USD 218 Million on USD 114 Million in revenue for the same period a year earlier.
Before it began trading, Moderna’s IPO process had drawn some controversy. The Company disclosed on Tuesday that it had dropped an underwriter, claiming the firm had made “unauthorized communications” about the offering, Moderna said in a filing.
Moderna was one of biotech’s most scrutinized “unicorns,” having raised more than USD 2.6 Billion as a private company. Startups that study drugs typically go public earlier in their corporate life cycles to fund their research. Moderna had been one of the few exceptions to that rule, raising private funding rounds that dwarfed typical financings.
Moderna’s debut, one of the biggest initial public offerings in the space, is considered to be one of the last big IPOs in a year that brought in more than 200 new listings and raised more than USD 58 Billion.