SoftBank-backed Vir Biotechnology’s shares tumble in market debut
(Reuters) – Shares of SoftBank-backed Vir Biotechnology Inc VIR.O plunged nearly 19.3% on their debut on Friday, adding to the gloom in the IPO market following WeWork’s failed attempt to list on the stock market.
Shares opened at $16.15 giving the biotech firm a market capitalization of $1.77 billion.
The San Francisco-based infectious disease researcher raised $142.9 million, selling its offering at $20 per share. It had set a price range of $20-$22 per share.
Vir researches new therapies for infectious diseases such as hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV, and counts some of the most high-profile investors in the industry among its backers.
Co-founded by Arch Venture Partners’ Robert Nelsen, both SoftBank’s Vision Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are among its biggest backers. Biogen Inc’s (BIIB.O) former Chief Executive Officer George Scangos is its CEO.
Vir said it intends to use part of the proceeds to fund clinical trials and related manufacturing needs.
The company posted revenue of $10.7 million for 2018, a nearly four-fold jump from a year earlier, while its losses have jumped about 66% to $115.9 million in the same period.
Late last month, office-sharing startup WeWork, another SoftBank-backed company, shelved its market debut after increased skepticism from investors regarding its path to profitability.
German biotech firm BioNtech’s shares opened up 10% in their debut on Thursday, but quickly erased gains after closing down nearly 5%.
JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Cowen and Barclays are among the lead underwriters for Vir’s IPO.
Reporting by C Nivedita and Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber