New Biotech IPO Dropped a Unicorn-Sized Value on Its First Day

(Bloomberg) -- Moderna Inc.’s decision to go public as the latest biotechnology unicorn garnered a lot of excitement on Wall Street -- and then it fell flat.

The drugmaker’s move to launch the sector’s largest-ever IPO was met with a thud as it shed more than a billion dollars of its market value in less than five hours of trading amid a broader market sell-off. The stock closed at $18.60 despite pricing an expanded offering at $23 each. The $1.4 billion Moderna lost in value is greater than the market value of more than half the companies in the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index.

New Biotech IPO Dropped a Unicorn-Sized Value on Its First Day

The company boasts partnerships with sector juggernauts including Merck & Co. and AstraZeneca Plc, so its growth prospects have attracted notable attention across the sector. But pricing an IPO is awfully problematic when the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index -- a key measure of investor sentiment about the drug industry -- is falling 3.2 percent, outpacing losses even in the broader U.S. market.

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