The IPO Buzz: Therapeutics Trending

As the Good Ship IPO cruises into the New York Harbor, it will close out 2017’s first half with the heaviest weekly traffic in two years – and a fistful of companies with the word “therapeutics” in their names. So if you like therapeutics, this segment is in play.

In short, 2017’s traffic has been good. For the year so far, bankers have priced 65 offerings, excluding the usual suspects – see the note below. In contrast, the first six months of 2016 turned out only 34 IPOs, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

(Note: These figures exclude unit offerings, bank conversions, “best efforts” offerings, blank checks, closed-end funds, companies trading on the OTC markets moving over to the NASDAQ and foreign-traded securities making their debuts in the U.S. capital markets. The latter are public offerings. Investors can buy the underlying shares on foreign exchanges before their U.S. pricing dates.)

Do “The Hustle”

This week’s IPO calendar has 10 names. A flip back through the history books shows that the last time more deals were done was during the week of June 22, 2015, when 13 IPOs got out the door.

Now back to the present: Four of the five health-care IPOs on this week’s calendar have the word “therapeutics” in their companies’ names. Two other IPOs are from the banking industry, one offers home delivery of meals, another is from the technology sector and there’s a “blank check” company in the mix. Collectively, they expect to raise $1.48 billion.

Targeting Cancer and More

The health-care companies are: Aileron Therapeutics (ALRN – proposed), Akcea Therapeutics (AKCA – proposed), Avenue Therapeutics (ATXI – proposed), Dova Pharmaceuticals (DOVA – proposed) and Mersana Therapeutics (MRSN – proposed).

(For more information, please check the IPO profiles found on’s website.)

The Street hears “the pick of the week” is Mersana.

Mersana, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on developing antibody drug conjugates that offer a clinically meaningful benefit for cancer patients with significant unmet need.

 Note: New Enterprise Associates, Pfizer and Takeda Pharmaceutical – all stockholders – have indicated an interest in buying in aggregate up to about $30 million in stock in this IPO.

Rounding out the therapeutics list are:

Aileron Therapeutics, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is focusing on developing and commercializing a novel class of therapeutics called stapled peptides.

Note: Certain of Aileron’s existing stockholders have indicated an interest in purchasing an aggregate of about $25 million in shares in this offering.

Akcea Therapeutics, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on developing and commercializing drugs to treat patients with serious cardiometabolic diseases caused by lipid disorders.

Note: Novartis Pharma, the company’s strategic collaborator, has agreed to purchase $50 million of Akcea’s common stock in a separate private placement concurrent with the completion of this offering if the gross proceeds from this IPO equal or exceed $116.7 million.

Avenue Therapeutics, based in New York City, is a specialty pharmaceutical company focusing on the development and commercialization of an intravenous formulation of tramadol HCl, or IV Tramadol, for the management of moderate to moderately severe postoperative pain.

Note: The deal had been reduced to 5 million shares at $5 to $7 each, down from 5 million shares at $9 to $11 each, and rescheduled to be priced this week instead of last.

Dova Pharmaceuticals (DOVA – proposed), based in Durham, North Carolina, is a pharmaceutical company focusing on drug candidates for diseases that are treated by specialist physicians, with an initial focus on addressing thrombocytopenia, a disorder characterized by a low blood platelet count.

Note: Certain of Dova’s existing stockholders and certain of its directors have indicated an interest in purchasing about $25 million in stock in this IPO.


Two deals this week hail from the banking sector:

Byline Bancorp (BY – proposed), based in Chicago, conducts all its business activities through its subsidiary, Byline Bank, a full-service commercial bank. The bank has been a part of the Chicago banking community for over 100 years. It operates the fifth-largest branch network in the City of Chicago with 56 branches in the metropolitan Chicago area.

Esquire Financial Holdings (ESQ – proposed), based in Jericho, New York, is the parent of a full-service commercial bank dedicated to serving the financial needs of the legal and small business communities on a national basis, as well as commercial and retail customers in the metropolitan New York area.

Dinner, the Cloud and a “Blank Check”

The rest of this week’s calendar is a mixed bag:

Blue Apron Holdings (APRN – proposed), based in New York City, offers delivery of high-quality ingredients and recipes for home-cooked meals. The company serves people who are too busy to grocery shop, lack the skills or confidence to cook, or cannot easily find the quality ingredients that make home cooking enjoyable. The service is popular with millennials.

Tintri (TNTR – proposed), based in Mountain View, California, provides large organizations and cloud service providers with an enterprise cloud platform that offers public cloud capabilities inside their own data centers and that can also connect to public cloud services.

TPG Pace Holdings (TPGH.U – proposed), based in Fort Worth, Texas, is a newly organized “blank check” company formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses. Its initial focus will be in travel, technology, media and business services.

(For more information, please check the IPO profiles found on’s website.)

July’s Quiet Opening

This brings us to the week of July 3, 2017, which is a blank slate. The week is broken up by the July 4th holiday, which falls on a Tuesday this year. There is nothing on the IPO calendar at this time. Nevertheless, a lot could happen when the SEC’s filing window opens again on Monday morning.

Stay tuned.

Disclosure: Neither the author nor anyone else on the staff has a position in any stocks mentioned, nor do we trade or invest in IPOs. The author and staff do not issue advice, recommendations or opinion.