Global Blood Therapeutics latest biotech to double in debut

August 12, 2015

Blood disorder drug developer Global Blood Therapeutics shares more than doubled Wednesday as the company became the latest biotechnology company to get a powerful response from investors in its stock market debut.

Global Blood Therapeutics Inc. says its treatment for sickle cell disease might stop red blood cells from becoming misshapen, treating the disease rather than its symptoms. The drug, GBT440, is in early clinical testing: as of July 31, it had been given to 30 healthy volunteers and six people with sickle cell disease. The company wants to begin at least one mid-stage trial of the drug in early 2016.

The offering of 6 million shares priced at $20 each, raising a greater-than-expected $120 million. The stock surged to a closing price of $43.11, a gain of 116 percent. FactSet says the company's market capitalization is now around $3.5 billion, and it's the third biotech to have its shares more than double in value on their first day of trading this year.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder that causes red blood cells to become misshapen and leads to blocked blood vessels, causing severe pain and eventually organ failure and death. The National Institutes of Health says a stem cell transplant from a donor is the only cure for the condition, but most patients are too old for a transplant or don't can't find a good enough genetic match. One drug is approved to treat pain caused by sickle cell disease, and blood transfusions are also used as treatments.

Two other biotech drug developers have had even bigger first-day leaps this year. Shares of cancer drug developer Aduro Biotech climbed 147 percent in their first day of trading and shares of gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics advanced 117 percent.

In June shares of a pharmaceutical company which is developing drugs intended to restore gut bacteria and fight infections, Seres Therapeutics, nearly tripled in value after their IPO.

Global Blood Therapeutics is the third company in the sickle cell disease field to go public recently. Bluebird Bio Inc., which went public in 2013, is studying a potential gene therapy for the condition, while Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc., which had its IPO in December, is studying a drug designed to reduce the side effects of stem cell transplants.

Bluebird Bio is studying treatments for several other diseases and its shares have climbed from a starting price of $17 to $134.86 Wednesday. Bellicum shares also opened at $17 and rose to $18.13 Wednesday.

Global Blood, based in South San Francisco, California, had expected to price its offering at $16 to $18 per share. Its stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol "GBT."

Explore further: Drug developer Adaptimmune skids after IPO raises $191M

Related Stories

Researchers engineer custom blood cells

March 9, 2015

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have successfully corrected a genetic error in stem cells from patients with sickle cell disease, and then used those cells to grow mature red blood cells, they report. The study represents an ...

Recommended for you

A decade on, smartphone-like software finally heads to space

March 20, 2019

Once a traditional satellite is launched into space, its physical hardware and computer software stay mostly immutable for the rest of its existence as it orbits the Earth, even as the technology it serves on the ground continues ...

Tiny 'water bears' can teach us about survival

March 20, 2019

Earth's ultimate survivors can weather extreme heat, cold, radiation and even the vacuum of space. Now the U.S. military hopes these tiny critters called tardigrades can teach us about true toughness.

Researchers find hidden proteins in bacteria

March 20, 2019

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a way to identify the beginning of every gene—known as a translation start site or a start codon—in bacterial cell DNA with a single experiment and, through ...

Turn off a light, save a life, says new study

March 20, 2019

We all know that turning off lights and buying energy-efficient appliances affects our financial bottom line. Now, according to a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, we know that saving energy also saves ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.