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Bravura IPO of Morphosys in the USA — over $200 million raised

26. April 2018

New York/ Munich — Morpho­sys, based in Munich, succee­ded in achie­ving the largest IPO of a German biotech company on the Nasdaq in the USA to date and one of the largest share place­ments ever in the German biotech sector. The company’s shares were previously only listed in Germany.

With the fresh capi­tal, Morpho­sys is prepa­ring for the further expan­sion of its clini­cal rese­arch and the possi­ble market launch of its first own product candi­date in 2020.

The stock market proceeds will bring the company’s capi­tal reser­ves to around 450 million euros, a lot of money for the ambi­tious projects.

The expen­sive drug rese­arch and deve­lo­p­ment, which curr­ently still leads to losses on the balance sheet, was the driving force behind the US IPO. For 2018, the company is projec­ting around 100 million euros in rese­arch costs and 110 to 120 million euros in opera­ting losses. But such numbers are not unknown to U.S. inves­tors, nor are they a deal-brea­­ker if the tech­no­logy and over­all stra­tegy are judged to be of value.

Morpho­sys’ stra­te­gic goal is to become a “fully inte­gra­ted commer­cial biophar­maceu­ti­cal” company with drugs deve­lo­ped in-house. In this respect, the Munich-based company is in global compe­ti­tion, espe­cially with strong U.S. companies.

Morpho­sys’ current hope is an anti­body compound called MOR208, which the company is testing in the final phase III trial against certain forms of blood cancer, so-called B‑cell lympho­mas. It could — if the promi­sing data so far are further confir­med — enter the first appro­val proce­du­res next year and be laun­ched on the market in 2020. The U.S. Food and Drug Admi­nis­tra­tion has gran­ted this drug candi­date “breakthrough therapy” status, which comes with expe­di­ted consul­ta­tion and review proce­du­res, among other bene­fits. A further four proprie­tary MOR product candi­da­tes are in earlier stages of clini­cal development.

In addi­tion, clini­cal trials with more than two dozen compounds based on Morpho­sys’ tech­no­logy are curr­ently under­way with part­ners from the phar­maceu­ti­cal indus­try. In the event of appro­val, the Munich-based company is enti­t­led to royal­ties on these active ingre­dients. A first product from these part­ner programs, the psoria­sis drug Tremfya deve­lo­ped by John­son & John­son, has been appro­ved since 2017 — and is already genera­ting initial reve­nues for the Munich-based company. Nume­rous other projects based on Morpho­sys’ subs­tance libra­ries are in the earlier, precli­ni­cal phase of rese­arch: a total of around 100 anti­body projects.

Thanks to this two-pron­­ged stra­tegy with the deve­lo­p­ment of proprie­tary compounds and tech­no­logy part­ners­hips, Morpho­sys now has a rela­tively broad base and is in principle not depen­dent on indi­vi­dual projects, and can focus on its own developments.

The U.S. Nasdaq, at any rate, is deligh­ted with the weighty new addi­tion, and its Presi­dent Nelson Griggs attests to the company from Plan­egg near Munich: “Morpho­Sys’ rich expe­ri­ence in anti­body disco­very and deve­lo­p­ment, coupled with its proprie­tary tech­no­lo­gies, makes it a leading company in the biophar­maceu­ti­cal indus­try. We are plea­sed to welcome Morpho­Sys to the Nasdaq Stock Exchange and support the company’s conti­nued success in impro­ving the lives of pati­ents with serious diseases.”

MorphoSys’s common shares are listed on the Frank­furt Stock Exchange under the symbol “MOR”. The ADSs are listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “MOR.”

Gold­man Sachs & Co. LLC, J.P. Morgan Secu­ri­ties LLC and Leer­ink Part­ners LLC acted as lead book-running mana­gers for the offe­ring; Beren­berg Capi­tal Markets, LLC and JMP Secu­ri­ties LLC acted as co-mana­­gers for the ADS offering.

Photo: Nasdaq Inc.

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