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IPO aftermarket: Shopify launches, but biotech rules

This is going to sound like a broken vinyl record that keeps skipping over the same groove and playing a single line: Biotech and healthcare companies dominated the previous month’s IPOs.

In May, eight new venture-backed companies debuted on the NYSE and Nasdaq exchanges, bringing the year-to-date total to 31. But seven of the eight companies were biotech or healthcare companies. The only tech company was Shopify, a Toronto-based ecommerce platform provider.

Through the first five months of the year, 24 of the 31 VC-backed offerings have been in life sciences, representing 77 percent of total listings so far this year. It’s a remarkable trend, considering the dearth of life sciences in the public markets in the early part of this decade.

The largest offering in May was Adaptimmune Therapeutics PLC. The U.K.-based cancer research and development therapeutic company raised $191.3 million in its IPO.

The company, founded in 2008, had raised more than $107 million in funding from University of OxfordMerlin NexusRock Springs CapitalQVT Financial and Novo A/S, among others.

The pace of new offerings from life sciences is showing no signs of slowing down.

The biotech and healthcare companies in registration include:

  • Seres Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of a range of biological drugs. The company has raised more than $75 million in venture capital, according to Thomson Reuters, from Flagship Ventures and Sofinnova Ventures, among others. Seres is looking to raise $100 million in its IPO.
  • Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Mass.-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. The company has raised more than $66 million in VC funding from Advanced Technology Ventures, Clarus Ventures, Lightstone Ventures, MedImmune Ventures and SV Life Sciences Advisers. The company is aiming to raise $75 million in its public offering.
  • Teladoc, a Dallas-based provider of provides telehealth medical consultation services. The company has raised $100 million in funding from such investors as Commons Capital, Icon Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Capital Partners, QuestMark Partners and Trident Capital, among others. The company has filed to raise $100 million in its IPO.