Thiel-backed antibody therapy developer AbCellera boosts IPO price range

Dec 10 (Reuters) - Peter Thiel-backed AbCellera Biologics Inc, which is co-developing COVID-19 antibody therapies with Eli Lilly and Co, said on Thursday it expects to raise up to $414 million in its U.S. stock market launch after boosting its price range.

The Canadian biotech developer plans to sell 23 million shares priced between $17 and $18 apiece, according to a regulatory filing. It had earlier targeted a price range of $14 to $17 per share.

The price range boost underscores the strong demand for new biotechnology stocks, with almost half of the U.S. IPOs in 2020 coming from the healthcare sector, according to data from IPOScoop.

The U.S. has purchased 950,000 doses of Bamlanivimab, a COVID-19 antibody therapy co-developed by Lilly and AbCellera, which has been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A supply agreement has also been signed with the Canadian government for 26,000 doses.

AbCellera has also received government support, with $30.6 million from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Platform’s pandemic prevention program and C$175.6 million ($137.8 million) from the Canadian government’s Strategic Innovation Fund.

Antibody-based therapeutics is expected to grow up to $260 billion by 2025, according to the company.

$1 = 1.2740 Canadian dollars Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila