New Year’s Biotech IPO Boom?

January was a profitable month for biotech companies going public, Burrill & Company says.

Feb 3, 2014
Tracy Vence

New York Stock ExchangeWIKIMEDIA, ARUN DE JOEThe first 31 days of 2014 were fruitful for biotech companies going public, according to the financial services firm Burrill & Company. In a statement, the firm noted that six life-sciences companies completed public offerings last month, raising a total of $439 million. Last year was also strong for biotech initial public offerings (IPOs), with six companies completing them in September alone.

“The strong start for biotech IPOs in 2014 reflects broad interest in the sector and the fact that biotech is outperforming the general markets,” CEO G. Steven Burrill said in the statement. “The enthusiasm at this year’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference has refueled momentum in the sector and companies are seeking to take advantage of Wall Street’s still open arms.”

But while the biotech IPO drought of years past may have ended, experts warn that the perceived boom might not last. “In some cases, there may be examples of companies that succeed in getting an IPO done that perhaps wouldn’t have done were it not for that bubble-like herd behavior [of investors],” David Grainger, a partner at Index Ventures in London, told The Scientist last August. “And if those companies then crash . . . then there’s a danger we will flip from the current headlong rush back into the bust state.”