The first six months of 2014 have seen as many pharmaceutical initial public offerings as the whole of 2013. A total of 52 IPOs have been completed in 2014, whereas 2013 saw a total of 54 IPOs. The industry is experiencing heightened investment activity now that the negative effects of the 2008 market are dwindling. Companies are innovative, and the FDA has increased the pace of approval for new drugs. Additionally, the Jumpstart Our Businesses Act has encouraged smaller companies to go public.

The first half of 2014 saw IPOs with similar amounts. For example, Cerulean Pharma raised slightly less venture capital than Ardelyx’s $60.8 million at $60.2 million. The second half of 2014 is less certain. Only one of seven biopharmas expected to go public in late June actually did, Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, and this company lowered its price from around $12 to $7, implying a possible cooling of biopharma stock.

The top five IPOs for 2014 according to Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News include Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, Versartis, Kite Pharma, Phibro Animal Health, and Circassia Pharmaceuticals.

  • Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical netted $126.4 million and went public on January 31, 2014. The share price was $21 with 6.6 million shares listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
  • Versartis netted $132.2 million and went public on March 21, 2014. The share price was $21 with 6.9 million shares listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
  • Kite Pharma netted almost $147 million and went public on June 20, 2014. The share price was $17 with 8.6 million shares listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
  • Phibro Animal Health netted $229 million and went public on April 11, 2014. The share price was $15 with 14.7 million shares listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
  • Circassia Pharmaceuticals netted $342 million and went public on March 13, 2014. The share price was $5 with 67.4 million shares listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.

Fiercebiotech recently quoted Bobby Franklin, CEO of the National Venture Capital Association. Franklin implied that the IPO environment will continue to be favorable for companies waiting for the opportunity to go public and with the necessary funding, especially those companies in the life sciences field.

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