Moderna Declines in Public-Market Debut

Date : 12/07/2018 @ 6:07PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Merck & Company (New) (MRK)
Quote : 78.18  1.07 (1.39%) @ 3:52PM

Moderna Declines in Public-Market Debut

Merck (NYSE:MRK)
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By Kimberly Chin 

Biotech company Moderna Inc.'s shares declined in their first day of public trading, a day after the company's IPO came in strong amid a jittery stock-market backdrop.

The stock opened at $22 on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol MRNA. That is 4.3% below its initial public offering price. The stock recently traded down about 6%.

On Thursday, the Cambridge, Mass., company sold 26.3 million shares--more than expected -- that were priced at $23 each, in line with expectations. It raised $604.3 million, giving the company a valuation of roughly $7.5 billion.

The company has drawn much fanfare, luring investors on the promise that its messenger RNA technology will bring new treatments for cancer, heart disease and other diseases. Also boosting the attraction are partners like AstraZeneca PLC, Merck & Co. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Moderna's IPO process comes as the broader stock market whipsaws. Its shares priced Thursday after a late rally on potential Federal Reserve dovishness all but erased the day's deep declines. On Friday morning, it began trading amid a renewed selloff.

Critics have raised concerns that there is not much public information out about the company, and that some of its programs remain relatively unproven since many are still in the earlier stages of clinical testing. Only a small percentage of drugs and treatments have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Moderna's operating expenses in 2017 topped $475 million, while its revenue -- from collaborations and grants -- totaled just over $200 million.

Moderna, which was founded in 2010, has 21 drug and vaccine research programs, including 10 that have progressed beyond the laboratory and are being tested in humans.

Before it began trading, Moderna's IPO process had drawn some controversy. The company disclosed on Tuesday that it had dropped an underwriter, claiming the firm had made "unauthorized communications" about the offering, Moderna said in a filing.

Moderna's debut, one of the biggest initial public offerings in the space, is considered to be one of the last big IPOs in a year that brought in more than 200 new listings and raised more than $58 billion.

It has also been a banner year for biotech offerings. Around 60 biotech and pharmaceutical companies have listed shares in the U.S. this year, raising at least $6.4 billion, according to Dealogic.

--Corrie Driebusch and Jonathan D. Rockoff contributed to this article.

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 07, 2018 12:52 ET (17:52 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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