initial public offerings (IPOs) trading on American exchanges

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Axovant Sciences (AXON) began trading on the NYSE on 11 June 2015

  • The biggest U.S. biotech IPO ever. 
  • Axovant Sciences sold shares at $15 a piece, raising $315 million at a $1.4 billion valuation. Already, the stock is up 90%, giving Axovant a valuation of about $2.8 billion.
  • Behind the massive IPO is a 29-year-old former hedge fund manager, Vivek Ramaswamy, who previously worked as a partner at Dan Gold’s QVT. 
  • He left the hedge fund firm last year and founded Roivant, in which QVT is an investor. Axovant was formed in October and spun off by Roivant.
  • In December 2014, Ramaswamy engineered the purchase of an experimental Alzheimer’s pill from GlaxoSmithKline for $5 million. It is Axovant’s sole asset. GlaxoSmithKline also obtained a 12.5% royalty based on net sales and Axovant is obligated to pay the drug giant tens of millions of dollars more if certain milestones are achieved.

Shares of Axovant Sciences nearly doubled in value after the dementia drug developer said its initial public offering raised $315 million, more than Axovant had expected.

The company expanded its offering to 21 million shares and said the offering priced at $15 a share, at the high end of its estimates.

The stock climbed $14.90, or 99.3 percent, to end its first trading day at $29.90. It peaked at $31.17.

The offering values Axovant at around $1.4 billion. The Bermuda-based company is controlled by Roivant Sciences Ltd., which invests in biotech companies with late-stage experimental drugs. Roivant owns about 80 percent of Axovant's shares.

Ramaswamy is bringing his family along for the ride. His mother and brother are both employees of Axovant Sciences and have received some 1 million stock options between them that carry an exercise price of 90 cents per share. “They are both physicians by training, one of them has been a geriatric physiatrist who has treated patients with Alzheimer’s disease for a couple of decades,” says Ramaswamy. “Like all of our employees they have received stock options.”


Axovant Sciences Ltd., formerly Roivant Neurosciences Ltd., is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company is focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. The Company develops RVT-101, a product candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Its RVT-101 is an orally administered, potent antagonist of the 5-hydroxytryptamine 6 (5-HT6) serotonin receptors in the brain. By antagonizing the 5-HT6 receptor, RVT-101 enhances the release of acetylcholine, glutamate and other neurotransmitters that are essential to cognition. The Company's RVT-101 has shown safety, tolerability and efficacy for up to 48 weeks, as demonstrated in a 684-subject, randomized, placebo-controlled Phase IIb trial.


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