The IPO Buzz: Two Biotechs and a Bank

Two biotechs and a Midwestern bank make up this week’s IPO Calendar. That’s it. Bankers expect to raise $550.22 million from these three deals. This lineup extends the trend last week when five biotechs plus a Southern bank were set to go public. Two of those five biotech deals got pulled last week “due to market conditions” after U.S. stocks plunged two days in a row on recession fears.

October’s rough beginning was “one of the worst starts for a quarter since the 2008-09 crisis,” MarketWatch reported. It was a rude reminder (as if anyone needed one) that October is the anniversary month for the stock market crashes of 1929, 1987, 1997 and 2008. But Wall Street’s mood was more optimistic by the end of the week, according to The Wall Street Journal. Stocks snapped back Thursday and rallied Friday, lifted by hopes for a rate cut later this month and data showing the nation’s unemployment rate hit a 50-year low in September.

October by the IPO Numbers

October is known for fairly strong IPO volume. An average of 19.8 IPOs got priced in the month of October alone for the years 2001 through 2018, according to IPOScoop data. A look at IPO data for the past five years (2014-2018) revealed that an average of 24.4 IPOs were priced in October alone.

In September 2019, a total of 13 deals got done. On Sept. 30th, one high-profile IPO – WeWork – was withdrawn less than a week after its CEO stepped down.

The traffic was brisk at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s filing window last week.  A total of 11 companies either filed to go public or amended their prospectuses from Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2019.

Now let’s turn our attention to this week’s three IPOs. One deal is scheduled for pricing Wednesday evening, while the other two are expected to be priced on Thursday night. The timing is possibly a nod to the fact that Yom Kippur, the most solemn day on the Jewish calendar, begins at sundown on Tuesday, Oct. 8, and ends at sundown on Wednesday, Oct. 9.

Wednesday evening pricing for Thursday trading:

BioNTech SE (BNTX proposed) is a German biopharmaceutical company working with seven collaborators, including Eli Lilly and Pfizer, to develop individualized cancer treatments for patients with melanoma, head and neck cancer, solid tumors, triple-negative breast cancer and pancreatic cancer. Eight of its drug product candidates are now in nine clinical trials, the prospectus says. Twelve of the company’s drug candidates – out of a pipeline of more than 20 potential new drugs – are based on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), according to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

The company reported a net loss of $127.2 million on revenue of $149.8 million for the last 12 months.

This is an IPO of 13.2 million American Depositary Shares at $18 to $20 each on NASDAQ.

Thursday evening pricing for Friday trading:

HBT Financial (HBT proposed) is a Bloomington, Illinois-based bank holding company with $3.2 billion in total assets and $2.8 billion in deposits, the prospectus says. The company’s two bank subsidiaries, Heartland Bank and Lincoln Bank, offer commercial and retail banking services to businesses, families and local governments in Central and Northeastern Illinois.

The banking company reported net income of $62.9 million on revenue of $143.5 million for the last 12 months.

This is an IPO of 8.3 million shares at $17 to $19 each on NASDAQ.

Vir Biotechnology (VIR proposed), based in San Francisco, is a clinical-stage immunology company focused on using cutting-edge technologies to treat serious infectious diseases. Its drug pipeline includes a product candidate targeting the hepatitis B virus, now in a Phase 1/Phase 2 clinical trial. This drug is being developed in a collaboration agreement with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, the prospectus says. The company is also developing a monoclonal antibody designed to prevent influenza A. It’s also working on drugs to treat HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and tuberculosis, in a collaboration agreement with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The company reported a net loss of $122.4 million on revenue of $11.7 million for the last 12 months.

This is an IPO of 7.1 million shares at $20 to $22 each on NASDAQ.

(For more information about these companies, please check the IPO Profiles on

Week of Oct. 14th

October’s third week is a blank slate so far. No IPOs are on tap. That could change, however, when the SEC’s filing window opens again for business 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 opinions.