Argenx, a publicly traded Dutch biotechnology company, said this week it raised roughly $1.1 billion from investors, capitalizing on positive clinical trial results for its sole approved drug.
The secondary stock offering substantially bolsters the balance sheet of Argenx, which is now worth nearly $30 billion, more than companies like BioNTech, Genmab and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
It’s also one of the largest follow-on stock sales for a biotech in recent years, coming close to the more than $1.3 billion Moderna raised in May 2020 on the promise of its COVID-19 vaccine. Typically, secondary biotech offerings raise about $100 million to $150 million, according to data from investment firm Baird, although it’s not uncommon to see raises reaching above $300 million. Most recently, Moonlake Immunotherapeutics raised $400 million in a June 27 stock sale.
These types of offerings are a vital source of funds for publicly traded biotechs, many of which haven’t yet reached the market with an approved drug. But the same downturn that’s closed off opportunities for initial public offerings has also cooled investor demand for buying biotech shares in follow-on sales.
For Argenx, the raise follows study results for its drug Vyvgart, which is already approved in the U.S. for the immune condition myasthenia gravis. The new data show the treatment could also help people with another autoimmune disease called chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy.
Wall Street analysts were impressed, with one calling Argenx’s data “near best case,” and another describing it as “very strong.” The team at Jefferies estimates peak annual sales to eventually hit $1.7 billion globally, while analysts at SVB Securities predict an even higher $2.5 billion.
The offering, which involved American Depositary Shares in the U.S. and ordinary shares in Europe and the U.K., raised significantly more than the $750 million Argenx had sought. It’s set to close July 24.
The anticipated funds will pad Argenx’s holdings of approximately $2 billion in cash, cash equivalents and current financial assets that it held as of March 31.