After Biggest Biotech IPO in History, Moderna Tumbles on Wall Street

At the end of the wee, Moderna logged one of its worst days for any company that went public this year, on the heels of investors selling the volatile biotechnology firm during a time of widespread market decline.

Indeed, the Nasdaq stock (MRNA) fell 19 percent, to $18.60, on Friday.  This values the commodity at lower than its initial public offering (IPO), which was $23. It also marks the fifth worst performer on its first day when compared to all other US-listed IPOs this year. More importantly, perhaps, Moderns was the largest company worth more than $1 billion at the time of launching their IPO, since April of 2017 (when Carvana Co shed 26 percent).

On Thursday, the company sold its stock to investors; a strong move at 26.3 million shares, which was far more than they expected, but fairly priced.  Thus, the company was able to raise $604.3 million to set a valuation of more than $7.5 billion. At the time of pricing, though, Moderna helms the command of a fully diluted market, resting at $8.1 billion.  What might be most impressive, Moderna’s record-breaking $7.5 billion IPO valuation is nearly quadruple the second biggest valuation in history:  Allogene Therapeutics’ (ALLO) $2 billion.

At one point in recent history, Moderna was a force to be reckoned with.  Founded in 2010, the Cambridge, Mass company’s debut was one of the largest biotechnology IPOs in history. In fact, many considered it the biggest deal in a year rife with 200 new US listings, raising more than $58 billion.  And since this debut, Moderna has launched 21 new drug and vaccine research programs; this includes 10 such programs which have progressed beyond the laboratory and are currently in the human testing phase.

2018 was a big year for biotech IPOs.  So far, there have been 58 biotech IPOs to raise $6.3 billion.

Moderna’s main focus has been researching messenger RNA (mRNA). This is the biological marker in the human body that carries genetic information from DNA to make necessary proteins.  Essentially, Moderna aims to develop experimental treatments that would use mRNA to deliver instructions to cells which will motivate them to create disease-fighting proteins. The eventual goal would be to create personalized vaccines; they are also working on two separate immunotherapy drugs.