Akcea, A Wholly Owned Subsidiary Of Ionis Pharmaceutical, Set To IPO


Akcea Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: AKCA) filed an S-1/A with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its upcoming initial public offering. The company intends to sell 9,620,000 shares of its stock at a marketed price range of $12 to $14. It has an additional 1,443,000 shares over-allotted as an option for its underwriters.

Company insiders are planning to purchase $25M worth of shares at the IPO price. Assuming the company prices at the mid-point of its price range it would have a fully diluted market cap of $657.3M.

Underwriters for the deal include: Cowen, Stifel, Wells Fargo Securities, and BMO Capital Markets.

The company is expected to IPO on Friday, June 30, 2017.

We first covered the deal on our IPO Insights Platform.

Business overview

Akcea Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company that is in the late clinical stages of developing drugs to treat metabolic diseases caused by lipid tissue disorders. The company founded operations in 2015 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS); its purpose was to develop and commercialize Ionis' drugs to treat lipid disorders. To date Ionis has funded expenses of Akcea and is expected to remain a principal stockholder after the IPO.

Akcea is developing four new drugs that are based on antisense technology. Its most advanced drug has completed a phase three clinical trial for treating familial chylomicronemia syndrome, or FCS, and it is beginning a phase three clinical trial for treating familial partial lipodystrophy, or FPL. Both diseases are rare genetic disorders that cause very high levels of triglycerides.

The company has a strategic partnership with Novartis Pharmaceuticals (NVS) to commercialize its drugs and received a payment of $75 million from the company upfront. Novartis paid $15 million to Ionis for its sublicensing fee. If Novartis exercises its right to commercialize the drugs, it will pay Akcea a $150 million licensing fee for each drug that it licenses and sells.

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Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in AKCA over the next 72 hours.

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