| February 16, 2020

$207 Million IPO for Beam Therapeutic to Fund Precision Genetic Medicine

Anca Spanu

Anca's career in journalism spans over 2 decades. She has served as staff writer, editor and deputy chief editor at... Anca's career in journalism spans over 2 decades. She has served as staff writer, editor and deputy chief editor at various media outlets all over the world. At Healthcare Weekly, Anca writes about current events, innovations in the healthcare space and events/ conferences with a focus on investing & startups.

Beam Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company developing precision genetic medicines through base editing, raised $207M after announcing, on February 5th, the pricing of its initial public offering of 10,588,236 shares of common stock, at $17.00 per share.

The aggregate gross proceeds, higher than expected

Beam Therapeutics’ common stock started trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on February 6, 2020 under the ticker symbol “BEAM.” All shares in the offering were offered by Beam Therapeutics. J.P. Morgan, Jefferies and Barclays acted as joint book-running managers for the offering; Wedbush PacGrow acted as lead manager.

Beam Therapeutics granted the underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an extra 1,588,235 shares of common stock at the initial public offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commissions.

The gross proceeds of the offering, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses payable by Beam Therapeutics, were expected to be around $180M, excluding any exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares. February 11th, the company announced the closing of its initial public offering of 12,176,471 shares of common stock, including the exercise in full by the underwriters of their option to purchase up to 1,588,235 additional shares of common stock, at a public offering price of $17.00 per share. The aggregate gross proceeds to Beam Therapeutics from the offering were higher than expected, reaching approximately $207 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses.

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Precision medicine can reduce costs without compromising quality of care

Precision medicine, the field in which Beam Therapeutics operates, according to the Precision Medicine Initiative, refers to “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.” This personalized approach allows doctors and researchers to pinpoint more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies will work for a particular disease in particular groups of people. This strategy is contrary to the one-size-fits-all approach, in which disease treatment and prevention strategies are conceived for the average person.

Clay Christiansen has described precision medicine as disruptive in its ability to drive down health care costs without compromising quality or outcomes.

Basically, the power of precision medicine lies in its ability to enable doctors and researchers to find the most effective treatment for a given patient, thus improving care quality, while reducing both costs and stress for patients, since further diagnostic testing and tentative therapies are rendered unnecessary earlier in the diagnostic process.

There is, however, a distinction between personalized medicine and precision medicine. If the first refers to an approach that considers genetic make-up but with attention to patient preferences, beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and social context, precision medicine describes a model for health care delivery that relies heavily on data, analytics, and information. This model goes beyond genomics and other molecular technologies, and must embrace digital health, data sharing and data science to be successful.

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Other precision medicine companies raised funds to advance research

Beam Therapeutics is not the only precision medicine company to go public in order to acquire more capital to fund their research.

Genome editing firm, Precision BioSciences has also filed for an initial public offering (IPO) seeking to raise $100 million, which it wants to use to advance its pipeline.

The money raised from the IPO is expected to help complete a phase 1/2a trial of lead off-the-shelf or allogeneic CAR-T targeting CD19 in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is due to get underway in the first half of this year. This comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in November, accepted the company’s investigational new drug (IND), application for its first gene-edited allogeneic CAR-T cell candidate targeting CD19.

Another company trying to acquire capital, Seattle-based RNA-gene editing therapy start-up Shape Therapeutics (ShapeTx), has raised $35.5 million in a Series A financing round. The company wanted to use the funds to hire top genetics scientists, capable of advancing its RNA and protein targeting platforms.These included the proprietary ShapeTx RNAfix technology that enables direct in vivo targeting and modification of RNA by leveraging proteins such as Adenosine Deaminases Acting on RNA (ADARs), suppressor tRNAs, and engineered adeno-associated viruses (AAVs).

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About Beam Therapeutics

Beam Therapeutics (Nasdaq:BEAM) is a biotechnology company developing precision genetic medicines through the use of base editing. Beam’s proprietary base editors create precise, predictable and efficient single base changes, at targeted genomic sequences, without making double-stranded breaks in the DNA. By using base editors to rewrite a single letter of the genome, Beam has the potential to create life-long cures for patients suffering from serious diseases. Base editors can be used for numerous therapeutic applications to treat disease. They can be used to correct disease-causing point mutations, to modify genes to create protective genetic variations, to activate or silence gene expression,  or “multiplex” by making multiple simultaneous base edits. Using this toolkit of approaches, the company is advancing a broad, diversified portfolio of 12 base editing programs against distinct editing targets and diseases.


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