Exclusive: Moderna mulls upsizing largest biotech IPO since 2016 - sources

Exclusive: Moderna mulls upsizing largest biotech IPO since 2016 - sources

By Lance Tupper and Joshua Franklin

(Reuters) - Moderna Inc is considering selling up to 20 percent more shares than originally planned in its initial public offering on Thursday, allaying concerns that stock market jitters could derail the biggest flotation of a biotechnology company since 2016, two people familiar with the matter said.

Moderna is set to price its IPO on Thursday evening following another turbulent day in the U.S. stock market, amid investor concerns over the trade dispute between the United States and China. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped back to losses for the year.

Moderna had originally planned to sell 21.7 million shares for between $22 and $24 per share. The IPO is still expected to come within that price range, said the sources, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private, and cautioning that no final decision had been made.

Moderna, which is due to start trading on the Nasdaq on Friday under the ticker "MRNA," did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna had scaled back its fundraising expectations in the run-up to the IPO in light of the stock market volatility, which makes for a more uncertain environment for new listings.

However, demand for the IPO was supported by a substantial amount of premarketing done with investors in preparation of the IPO, the sources said.

Biotech IPOs have performed strongly this year, returning on average around 14 percent in 2018 as of Nov. 30, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers data, compared to a flat S&P 500 Index <.SPX> year to date.

More IPOs of big, unlisted technology companies are expected. Earlier on Thursday, Ride-hailing company Lyft Inc beat bigger rival Uber Technologies in filing for an IPO.

Moderna develops therapeutic drugs for infectious diseases and immuno-oncology, and has said it intends to use a major portion of the net proceeds on drug discovery and development.

Morgan Stanley & Co LLC, Goldman Sachs & Co LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC are among the lead underwriting banks for the IPO.

(Reporting by Lance Tupper and Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: Dec 07, 2018 03:05:58 IST

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