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Bluebird IPO shows gene therapy on upward trajectory

Authored by James Sheppard

Gene therapy was again in the spotlight as the Boston based Bluebird bio completed its initial public offering (IPO). This further fuels what has been an impressive momentum swing for the area of gene therapy. Bluebird bio has rapidly become a high profile player in the gene therapy industry as we highlighted in our article last October. The gene therapy garnered new interest once Uniqure secured regulatory approval for Glybera.

Bluebird bio is developing gene therapies for multiple areas. The most advanced of these products is Lenti-D which is indicated for childhood cerebral ALD, which is currently in phase II/III clinical studies in the US. The novel technology has drawn the attention of many illustrious investors and partners, striking deals with Shire Human Genetic Therapies and global biopharma Celgene.

The number of biotech IPOs in recent weeks as the asset class has attracted investors once again. These have largely been US located companies but some of the hot European companies such as Prosensa and Cardio3 Bioscience are getting in on the action too. The USA has seen a considerable number of biotechs go public with Epizyme, Onconova Therapeutics and Agios Pharmaceuticals all going public in recent weeks.

With a target price of $17 per share, the stock closed on the first day of trading at $26.91, raising $101m for the company, valuing the company at $613m. The successful offering will come as good news to investors Third Rock Ventures, Bluebird bio’s main investor and who’s partner, Nick Leschly, run the firm. The money raised from the IPO will now be used to fund other projects in the areas of oncology and haematology where Bluebird bio plan to launch and expand clinical studies.

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