Earlier today, biotech company Moderna (MRNA 21.62, -1.38, -6.00%) also increased its deal size and priced its IPO at the mid-point, in what can be characterized as one of the most impressive performances of late, given the tumultuous markets. Specifically, the deal was lifted to 26.28 mln shares from 21.74 mln, not an insignificant amount. The IPO priced at $23 versus the $22-$24 expected price range. In all, the deal generated $604.4 mln in total gross proceeds, about $100 mln more than anticipated.
While MRNA may be a development stage company, it is an influential biotech company that has partnerships with big hitters like AstraZeneca, Merck, and Vertex Pharma. It also has a market cap approaching $7.5 bln, so, this is a substantial company. Adding to MRNA's credibility is that its IPO was led by three tier one firms: Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan.
Demand was impressively strong for this IPO among institutional investors. Whether the public markets are enthusiastic about the IPO remains to be seen, though. The stock opened for trade at $22 on the Nasdaq this morning.
MRNA is a biotech company focused on creating a new category of medicines based on messenger RNA (mRNA). The company has advanced a diverse development pipeline of 21 programs, of which 10 have entered clinical studies and another 3 have open INDs. Its programs span infectious diseases, oncology, cardiovascular diseases, and rare genetic diseases. Moderna has strategic alliances with major biopharma companies, including AstraZeneca, Merck, and Vertex Pharma.
There are multiple types of RNA that play a role in protein synthesis. mRNA, specifically, carries and delivers instructions to facilitate protein synthesis. Moderna is leveraging how mRNA works through its proprietary technologies and methods by creating mRNA sequences that instruct cells on protein synthesis just as if they were produced in the body. Moderna focuses on diseases where enabling targeted cells to produce one or more proteins will enable the body to fight or prevent specific protein-related diseases.
Using mRNA as a treatment opens up many opportunities to treat and prevent disease. This is reflected in Moderna's development pipeline of 21 programs. These span 24 different proteins: ten different antigens (including complexes and virus-like particles, or VLPs) for infectious disease vaccines; two different types of neoantigen cancer vaccines; four different immuno-modulator targets; three secreted proteins of diverse biology; and three intracellular enzymes for rare disease programs.
mRNA medicines represent an opportunity that could meaningfully exceed that of other classes of biopharmaceuticals. One such class, recombinant protein therapeutics, which focuses on secreted proteins, today generates over $200 bln in annual worldwide sales. Two other types of proteins, intracellular and membrane proteins, represent as much as two-thirds of all human proteins and are critical to human biology; however, delivery of these proteins is currently beyond the reach of recombinant protein technology. Moderna believes that mRNA medicines could address all three protein types.
In terms of the financials, Moderna does not expect to be profitable for the foreseeable future. It does not currently generate any product revenue, although it does generate collaboration and grant revenue. They key for investors will be any developments on the clinical front not financials at this point.