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IPO Roundup: Allogene IPO prices above high end of range, Livent pricing comes up short, while Audentes Therapeutics debuts

Allogene Therapeutics Inc raised $288 million by offering 18.4 million shares, putting a spotlight on the biotech IPO boom this year
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Allogene was started in 2017 by former Kite Pharma dream team Arie Belldegrun and David Cheng to change how cancer is treated

Allogene Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ALLO) was expected to debut with a splash Thursday on the tech-laden Nasdaq after raising $288 million in its initial public offering, marking one of the biggest stock market debuts for a biotech this year.

The cell therapy developer sold 18.4 million shares Wednesday for $18 a share, within the high end of its projected range of $16 to $18.

Allogene was started by former Kite Pharma execs, Arie Belldegrun and David Cheng in 2017 to disrupt how cancer is treated. The goal of the biotech’s allogeneic cell therapy platform is simple: take the same biological processes that allow the first-generation autologous CAR T therapies to deliver breakthrough clinical benefits, but eliminate the need to create a personalized therapy for each patient.

“Our engineered T cells are allogeneic, meaning they are derived from healthy donors for intended use in any patient, rather than from an individual patient for that patient’s use, as in the case of autologous T cells. We believe this key difference will enable us to deliver readily available treatments faster, more reliably, at greater scale, and to more patients,” the company said in its IPO filing.

The biotech’s pipeline includes UCART19, its lead investigational product, in Phase 1 development for the treatment of relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia, as well as several preclinical allogeneic CAR T therapies.

Lithium producer Livent Corp (NYSE:LTHM) priced its initial public offering of 20 million shares at $17, which is below the expected range of $18 to $20 a share. The company is now set to raise $340 million.

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Livent holds the lithium business of pesticides maker FMC Corp and the IPO is seen as a test of whether a pure-play lithium operation can stand on its own.

The offering comes as Livent leverages the global shift to renewable energy and the electric vehicle revolution by capitalizing on the ultralight battery metal used in making lithium-ion batteries for cell phones, electric vehicles and computers.

FMC saw a 46% jump in lithium sales in the second quarter and expects to produce roughly 21,000 tonnes of the metal this year, according to Reuters.

BofA Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse Securities are acting as joint book-running managers with an option to purchase up to three million additional shares.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Audentes Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:BOLD) opened at $28.34 Thursday after pricing its public offering of 5.2 million shares at $29 per share, for proceeds of $150.8 million.

The clinical stage biotechnology company is focused on developing and commercializing gene therapy products for patients living with life-threatening rare diseases.

It’s been a banner year for IPOs with 161 companies having priced so far this year, a nearly 50% jump from the same period last year, according to research firm Renaissance Capital. Biotech IPOs have been booming with 61 companies in the healthcare sector going public.

Biotech companies credit the business-friendly tax package for making it possible for Big Pharma to pour cash into licensing deals, mergers and acquisitions — making the prospect of rich exit strategies for biotech companies more tangible.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive

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