Bill Gates, billionaire and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 22, 2019. Image Credit: Bloomberg

New York: Vir Biotechnology Inc fell almost 30 per cent in its trading debut, adding to a series of IPO disappointments in an industry that was seen as at least partly immune to the ills afflicting this year’s newly public tech giants.

San Francisco-based Vir sold 7.14 million shares on Thursday for $20 each — the bottom of its marketed range — to raise $143 million. The shares opened on Friday at $16.15 and fell from there, closing at $14.02 to give the company a market value of about $1.5 billion.

Vir’s backers include SoftBank Vision Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte.

Listing stumbles by high-profile companies including We Co., the parent company of WeWork, have cast a pale over IPOs, which had thrived this year in the US despite trade tensions with China and stock market volatility.

Shares of the 146 companies that have gone public in the US this year are now down 0.2 per cent based on a weighted average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The losers include the $8.1 billion listing by Uber Technologies Inc, whose shares are down 33 per cent since its May IPO.

Peloton, Postmates

The two $1 billion-plus listings in September, SmileDirectClub Inc and Peloton Interactive Inc, are down 52 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively. Postmates Inc, which submitted a confidential filing in February, is one of the companies that could delay its listing to 2020, people familiar with the matter have said.

Of six biotech and biomedical IPOs that were set for the past two weeks, only one has lived up to expectations. Aprea Therapeutics Inc priced its shares in the middle of its marketed range and has climbed about 27 per cent from the offer price.

BioNTech SE, German cancer treatment firm, downsized its offering Wednesday to raise $150 million and is now down 7.2 per cent from its offer price.

Bottom Range

Last week, Viela Bio Inc and Frequency Therapeutics Inc both priced their share sales at the bottom of their target ranges. While Viela is up 1.1 per cent, Frequency Therapeutics has fallen 7.2 per cent since then.

ADC Therapeutics SA withdrew its IPO application last week citing “adverse market conditions.”

Vir, founded in 2016, develop treatments for infectious diseases. Its most advanced treatment is for hepatitis B is in phase 2 clinical trial and it has a flu treatment in phase 1 trial, according to its prospectus.

The offering is being led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & CO., Cowen Inc and Barclays Plc. The shares are trading on Nasdaq Global Select Market Friday under the symbol VIR.