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20 November 2017

Arsanis attains public market status with $40m IPO

The EMBL Ventures-backed immunotherapy developer floated in an underpriced offering and received $20m in a private placement from NEA.

Author: Robert Lavine, news editor, Global Corporate Venturing

US-based monoclonal antibody developer Arsanis has gone public in a $40m initial public offering that provided exits for research institute European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s investment arm EMBL Ventures.

The company issued 4 million shares on the Nasdaq Global Market priced at $10 each, well below the IPO’s $15 to $17 range. A fund affiliated with venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) agreed to buy another $20m of shares through a private placement.

Arsanis is developing monoclonal antibody-based immunotherapies to treat serious infectious diseases, and will put the brunt of the IPO into developing its lead drug candidate, ASN100, which will combat a life-threatening disease known as Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia.

The company was co-founded by Tillman Gerngross, professor of engineering in the School of Engineering at Dartmouth University, with Eszter Nagy and Errik Anderson.

The IPO was preceded by approximately $95m in equity and debt financing, including a $45.5m series D round in April 2017 featuring EMBL Ventures and GV, the early-stage corporate venturing arm of diversified conglomerate Alphabet.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation led the round, which also included Alexandria Venture Investments, a branch of real estate trust Alexandria Real Estate Equities, OrbiMed, Polaris Venture Partners, SV Health Investors, NeoMed, and Anna Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.

The company’s largest external investors were Polaris, Orbimed and SV Life Sciences, which each owned 17.8% stakes that were cut to 10%. GV held a 5.9% share of Arsanis that was cut to 3.3% following the offering and private placement.

Other notable investors in Arsanis include Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which came out with a 5.3% stake post-IPO, NeoMed (4.2%), and Section 32 (3.3%).

Citigroup, Piper Jaffray and Cowen and Company are the joint book-running managers for the IPO and were placement agents for the private placement.

The underwriters have a 30-day option to buy a further 600,000 shares, lifting the size of the offering to $46m. Arsanis floated on Thursday last week and its shares closed at $13.93 on Friday.

– A version of this article first appeared on our sister site, Global Corporate Venturing.

Supporting articles: Arsanis chases bigger IPO dream

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