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Epizyme Offering Makes May Biggest Month for Biotech IPOs in 13 Years

Eight companies debut as queue grows to 17.


The Burrill Report

“May was was the biggest month for life sciences IPOs in more than a decade.”

Epizyme, a clinical-stage company developing personalized therapeutics for cancer, priced a $77 million IPO May 30, making it the biggest month for life sciences IPOs in more than a decade.

The company, which sold 5.1 million shares at $15 each, priced at the top of its $13 to $15 range. It was the eighth life sciences IPO in May, the most for a single month since 16 life sciences IPOs debuted in August 2000, according to data compiled by The Burrill Report from the S&P CapIQ database. Epizyme had planned to offer 4.3 million shares, but increased the size of the deal.

The eight life sciences IPOs in May equaled the total number of IPOs completed during the preceding four months of 2013. At the same time, the queue of life sciences companies filing to go public continues to grow as seven additional companies filed registration statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission during the month, bringing the total number of life sciences companies in registration to 17.

The activity reflects an effort by life sciences companies to capitalize on the increasingly receptive public market for new issues, as well as a suggestion that eased regulatory requirements, the ability to file confidentially, and the chance to test the waters with investors through provisions of the JOBS Act, are making going public more attractive to emerging growth life sciences companies.

Though it is the best environment for biotech IPOs in a long time, it remains a demanding market for companies to access the public markets. Many companies continue to price deals below their target range to get them done and venture investors are often commit to purchasing stock in the IPO.

Despite the upsized offering and pricing at the top of its range, existing Epizyme shareholders committed to purchasing up to $11 million of the offering, according to the company’s registration statement.

As of the close of trading May 30, life sciences companies that completed IPOs in 2013 are up an average of 18.1 percent with 13 issues above their IPO price and four below. That compares to a 14 percent rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average or 16 percent increase in the S&P 500.

May 31, 2013

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