IPO Insights 2021

IPO Insights 2021

The number of biotechs entering the public markets is at an all-time high, with 2020 breaking all biotech IPO records, and 2021 on track to rival these numbers.

The latest CipherBio PRO data insight showcases these groundbreaking numbers. From 2019 to Q2 2021 over 220 companies went public with deals totaling $40+ Billion in IPO proceeds. These companies also account for 590 total investors, 575 indications, and over 1130 scientific approaches.

RA Capital  Orbimed Perceptive Advisors

The top 4 investors RA Capital Management, Orbimed, Perceptive Advisors, and Viking Global Investors invested in a combined total of 74 companies that went on to go public in 2019-2021 which amount to over $18 Billion in IPO proceeds.

IPO Top 4 Investors

In January 2021, RA Capital contributed to Verve’s Therapeutics $94 Million Series B Round. Verve, developing gene-editing therapeutics for Cardiovascular Diseases, went public just 6 months later with a $266.7 Million IPO. Perceptive Advisors participated in Nuvation Bio’s massive $275M Series A Round. The oncology-focused company went on to go public in February 2021 in a SPAC deal worth $644 Million. OrbiMed invested in Cambridge MA-based Cullinan Oncology that also went public this year with a $287M IPO. The final top investor Viking Global invested in the biotech with the biggest public deal of 2021.

The biotech topping the list is Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks, but Ginkgo’s public debut was not through the typical IPO route. Ginkgo, nicknamed “The Organism Company,” went public in May 2021 through a $2.5B SPAC deal, where they merged with Special Purpose Acquisition Company, Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. In addition to Viking Global, Ginkgo was backed by VC investors General Atlantic, T. Rowe, Cascade, Felicis, Vast, iGlobe Partners, and Os Fund. Ginkgo’s current market capitalization stands at an immense $25 Billion.

Just like IPOs, Biotech SPACs are at an all-time high and are on the rise. In 2020, there were 5 Biotech SPACs, totaling $750M. Already in 2021, there have been 16 Biotech SPACs, amounting to $6.4 Billion.


Of the companies going public in 2020 and 2021, 19 of the companies are working on COVID-19 products and for some, these drugs are the reason they became public.

Vancouver-based Abcellera Biologics came into the public eye in 2020 when it began using its antibody engineering platform to develop a therapeutic for COVID-19 patients. Abcellera’s COVID-19 antibody therapeutic led them to the public market through a $555.5 Million IPO, and eventually, the product became approved for FDA emergency use. Similarly, Atea Pharma garnered interest in their antiviral therapeutics platform during the pandemic as they began developing AT-527 for COVID-19. Atea will use the proceeds from its $345 Million IPO to advance AT-527, now in phase 3 trials.

Not only does Atea belong to the COVID-19 IPO group, but its Boston roots, along with Ginkgo’s, denote another trend. 48 of the companies are based in the greater Boston area, making the city the greatest for Biotech 2019-2021 public appearances.

COVID-19 IPO Group

See IPO Insights

While 2020 gave record numbers for the Biotech industry, 2021 continues this trend with 84 biotechs already going public with deals totaling over $17B, and now with the addition of the SPAC spike, this year looks to rival the extraordinary numbers of 2020.

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