Beam Therapeutics IPO Raises $180M After Nearly Doubling Shares Offered

Xconomy Boston — 

Gene editing biotech Beam Therapeutics raised $180 million in its initial public offering Wednesday after offering 48 percent more shares than it initially anticipated.

Beam, which was slated to begin trading Thursday on the Nasdaq exchange under the stock symbol “BEAM,” sold 9.25 million shares, up from the 6.25 million it said it planned to offer in a Jan. 30 securities filing. The company priced its IPO at $17 per share late Wednesday, the top of the $15 to $17 range it had targeted.

Beam filed IPO paperwork with securities regulators back in September. The company is one of a number in the gene-editing arena working to develop a CRISPR-based technology that can offer even more precise genomic edits.

The biotech says its tech is intended to allow editing of errors, known as point mutations, that occur in a single base—one half of a base pair, the building blocks of the DNA structure.

Beam, which was founded about three years ago, says the IPO money will go toward more research and development for its base editing programs, all of which are in the preclinical stage, studies to get some drug candidates ready for human tests, and, potentially, “an initial wave” of submissions in 2021 requesting the FDA’s OK to start clinical studies.

The indications it aims to tackle are broad, including the blood disorders sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia; T-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia in oncology; liver diseases, including alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency and glycogen storage disorder 1a; and Stargardt disease, an interited form of macular degeneration, and other ocular and central nervous system disorders.

Beam’s largest stockholders following the IPO are Arch Venture Partners, which owns 17 percent of Beam’s shares, and F-Prime Capital, which owns 14.4 percent. Beam CEO John Evans, who has held the role since January 2018 and served as interim CEO for about eight months prior, was most recently a venture partner at Arch.

The company’s debut comes amid a busy time for the life sciences sector in the public markets.

Schrödinger (NASDAQ: SDGR) raised $202 million this week by offering 11.9 million shares at $17, above the range of $14 to $16 it had targeted. Last week Black Diamond Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BDTX) reeled in $201 million, selling 10.5 million shares for $19 apiece, topping its earlier target of 8.9 million shares in the range of $16 to $18 each. Arcutis Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: ARQT) offered more shares than initially targeted and priced at the top of its range last week to raise $159 million via IPO.

Photo illustration by the National Human Genome Research Institute via a Creative Commons license