Israeli-US company LogicBio Therapeutics (Nasdaq: LOGC) last Friday raised $70 million in its IPO on Nasdaq. LogicBio, a young company, develops genetic treatments for rare diseases, one of the currently hot sectors on Nasdaq. The company is about to commence its first human trials.
The IPO was held at a company value of $207 million, after money. In the first day of trading after the IPO, LogicBio’s share price shot up 15%, pushing its market cap up to $238 million.
LogicBio sought to raise $70-75 million at $12-14 a share, but eventually lowered the price to $10 and increased the quantity of shares offered in order to obtain the amount it wanted to raise.
Despite the last minute cut in price, LogicBio’s achievement is special on Nasdaq at this time. Several years ago, it was almost impossible to hold an IPO for a company at this stage, certainly on this scale. Over the past year, however, the stock market has developed a taste for companies offering genetic healing technologies.
LogicBio, founded in 2014 by Israeli Dr. Adi Barzel, has a development center in Israel, although its management is from the US. The company raised $45 million to support its activity last year from Orbimed, Pontifax, Arix Bioscience, SBI, and Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners.
LogicBio was founded in Massachusetts, but its research and development takes place at a development center in Rehovot. The company has developed a new technology for genome editing, which it says is the next generation of CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) treatments, a very popular method of genome editing because it is relatively easy to use. In recent years, however, complaints of undesirable effects of CRISPR technology have arisen.
Barzel founded LogicBio when he was a researcher at Stanford University. In his post-doctorate work, Barzel and the company’s two other founders, Dr. Mark Kay and Dr. Leszek Lisowski, found a way of changing the genome using genetically engineered bacteria that do not reproduce in order to bring the desirable genes into cells. The new genes are integrated in the cell’s DNA using a natural genetic engineering mechanism found within the body. The company says that with this method, the genetic material remains stable in the cell even when it multiplies and splits.
LogicBio’s first trial will involve a treatment of a rare disease named Methylmalonic Acidemia (MMA), a hereditary liver disease that attacks a few hundred newborn babies a year and is liable to require a liver transplant in severe cases. In LogicBio’s treatment, coded protein sequences lacking in the patients’ genome are inserted into his or her body. The company hopes to achieve a cure.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on October 22, 2018
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