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Msg  32709 of 33365  at  6/6/2020 5:18:40 AM  by


The following message was updated on 6/6/2020 6:13:09 AM.

Legend Biotech / LEGN


interesting company imho:
UPDATED: Legend fetches $424 million, emerges as biggest winner yet in pandemic IPO boom as shares soar

Amid a flurry of splashy pandemic IPOs, a J&J-partnered Chinese biotech has emerged with one of the largest public raises in biotech history.

Legend Biotech, the Nanjing-based CAR-T developer, has raised $424 million on NASDAQ. The biotech had originally filed for a still-hefty $350 million, based on a range of $18-$20, but managed to fetch $23 per share, allowing them to well-eclipse the massive raises from companies like Allogene, Juno, Galapagos, though they’ll still fall a few dollars short of Moderna’s record-setting $600 million raise from 2018.

It didn’t stop there. Its shares rocketed up more than 60% on its first day of trading.

The almost unprecedented windfall comes as investors, searching for havens in a virus-stricken economy, have poured money in biotech stocks, driving up the price of companies developing Covid-19 treatments and vaccines and allowing obscure biotechs such as Zentalis and Applied Molecular Therapeutics to raise over $150 million in IPOs.

Legend burst from obscurity three years ago at ASCO, with early data showing a 100% response rate and a more than 40% complete response rate from their BCMA-targeting CAR-T cells. Skeptics quickly pounced. An obscure short attack questioning their data integrity came soon after. Bluebird bio’s Nick Leschly, shrugged off the data, suggesting that Legend’s patients weren’t as sick as the patients being treated by the Cambridge biotech’s ide-cell CAR–T.

J&J, though, was impressed and silenced some skeptics with a $350-million upfront deal later that year for the rights to its lead CAR-T therapy outside of China and a few Asian markets. The data has since helped support the initial hype. Five months ago, they reported a 100% response rate and a 69% complete response rate on 29 patients who had undergone five prior lines of therapy.

Based on that trial, they selected a dose to take forward, and although bluebird and its partner Bristol Myers Squibb initially had the leg up on regulatory review, the pair were immediately hit hard with a “refuse-to-file” from the FDA. Bluebird’s long-running CMC issues appeared to be the culprit, and the companies are now working on a new application.

Legend has already received $110 million from J&J and they have another $1.2 billion in milestones ahead, much of which will come whether or not the therapy ultimately sells.  They can get $125 million from manufacturing, another $105 million from more development, and another $800 million through regulatory markers.

At least one man already has a fair bit to celebrate. Legend started as a subsidiary of Genscript, and CEO Fangliang Zhang controlled 34 million shares entering the IPO. Those are now worth $782 million.

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