By Marie Daghlian
Clovis Oncology (CLVX) became a public company after selling 10 million shares of its common stock at $13 per share, at the low end of its target range of $13 to $15 a share, just days after NewLink Genetics (NASDAQ:NLNK) completed its initial offering, Clovis’ discount-free debut could ease the way for other life science IPOs.
Clovis made a splash when it was launched in the spring of 2009 with a management team that had established a track record at Pharmion, which Celgene acquired in 2008 for $2.9 billion. Its venture backers, many who had financed Pharmion, committed $145 million to the biotech’s first financing round, the largest venture deal of that year. Clovis’ business model was international in focus and based on acquiring, developing, and commercializing targeted cancer drugs.
The company was established in one of the most difficult financing environments in the history of the industry but it meant that it would have more opportunities to acquire promising molecules from companies without the resources to develop them. Clovis soon in-licensed a molecule from Clavis Pharma and entered into a partnership with Roche’s Ventana Medical Systems to develop a companion diagnostic to identify the subset of patients for which the drug is effective. The compound, CO-101, is currently being tested in a pivotal mid-stage trial as a first-line treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Clovis received only $95.7 million of the original $146.3 million commitment from its investors. They committed to purchase an aggregate of $50.6 million in the IPO. Existing investor ownership of Clovis after the IPO includes Domain Associates (14.4 percent), New Enterprise Associates (14.2 percent), Versant Ventures (10.1 percent), Aberdare Ventures (6.1 percent), and Abingworth Bioventures (6.1 percent).
Besides CO-101, Clovis has two other drugs in development. It does not expect any revenue until 2014 at the earliest, according to its registration statement. The Boulder, Colorado-based drug developer will trade on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CLVS.