Editas Medicine prepping for IPO even as biotech market struggles
- Cambridge, MA-based biotech Editas Medicine is attempting to raise up to $122 million through IPO, offering a total of 6,785,000 shares with an anticipated price between $16 and $18 a share.
- Editas is one of several biotechs working on developing treatments using the CRISP/Cas9 gene editing platform. It aims to tackle conditions such as Leber congenital amaurosis and sickle cell anemia.
- The overall Nasdaq biotech index has already lost all the ground it gained last year as market uncertainty and valuation concerns have dimmed bullishness.
While there is hesitancy among biotech companies thinking of listing publicly, Editas Medicine appears confident it will have a successful IPO. Editas has attracted some high-profile backers, including including Google Ventures, Deerfield Management, Fidelity, and Bill Gates. Much of that funding came from investments in mid-2015 or earlier, before the recent biotech weakness.
CRISPR-Cas9 technology has generated tremendous excitement from the medical and financial communities. However, two major hurdles may dampen that enthusiasm. So far, no human trials have been conducted. Additionally, there are numerous patent disputes outstanding as several players vy for rights in development.
Editas plans to use the money raised by the IPO to fund preclinical studies as well as clinical trials of its LCA10 program. In its IPO filing, the company noted that it anticipates to continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future.
Nevertheless, Editas has the name-recognition and solid science to merit the attention of the investment community.