Agios Rockets to $29 Per Share in Market Debut

Xconomy Boston — 

Score one for the venture backers of Agios Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AGIO).

Cambridge, MA-based Agios debuted on the Nasdaq this morning and public investors dove right in, immediately sending the cancer metabolism specialist’s shares roaring up to $29 apiece, giving it an opening market capitalization of more than $800 million.

Shares pulled back slightly shortly thereafter and traded at $28 apiece as of 11:35 a.m. Eastern, which represented a roughly 56 percent jump from the company’s $18 per share opening price this morning.

That means a boatload of returns for Agios’ largest shareholders prior to the IPO: Third Rock Ventures (23.65 percent stake), Celgene (17.05 percent), Arch Venture Partners (16.41 percent), Flagship Ventures (16.41), and entities associated with Fidelity Management (9.86 percent).

Agios has raised $261.2 million in total since its inception, but only $120 million of that is in equity financing. The rest has come via collaboration payments from its partnership with Celgene.

The IPO itself raised roughly $106 million initially for Agios, as the company sold 5,888,888 shares at $18 apiece. Celgene has also committed to buying $12.75 million in Agios shares at the IPO price in a separate deal. And Agios’ underwriters have a 30-day option to buy up an extra 883,333 shares, meaning Agios has the chance to have raised about $135 million through the IPO and the Celgene deal.

J.P. Morgan Securities, Goldman Sachs, Cowen and Co., and Leerink Swann were Agios’ underwriters. J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs served as joint book-running managers.

Agios was formed based on the idea of creating drugs that starve cancer cells by blocking certain mutated metabolic enzymes. It was co-founded by three of the pioneers in the cancer metabolism field: Harvard Medical School’s Lewis Cantley, the University of Toronto’s Tak Mak, and current Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center CEO Craig Thompson.

Arch Venture Partners and Flagship Ventures seeded the company before bringing Third Rock in as part of a $33 million Series A round that closed in January 2008.

Though Agios has created drugs to attack enzymes known as IDH1 and IDH2 that researchers say are mutated in a wide range of cancers, and is studying another drug that targets a rare form of anemia, none of them are in clinical trials as of yet.