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Twist Bioscience Files for $86.3M IPO

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Synthetic biology firm Twist Bioscience filed for an $86.3 million initial public offering with the US Securities and Exchange Commission today.

The company didn't specify the number of shares it is offering or at what price, but noted that its stock would trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol TWST. JPMorgan, Cowen, Allen and Company, and Baird are acting as the underwriters for the offering, and have been granted a 30-day option to purchase an unspecified number of additional shares at the IPO to cover overallotments.

The company said it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to improve and update its platform and core technologies by investing in equipment, expanding its research and development capabilities, and establishing new and scalable operation facilities; to expand sales and marketing capabilities globally; to develop manufacturing operations in China; to develop and expand into the biologics drug discovery and DNA data storage markets; and for working capital and general corporate purposes.

The firm also noted in its filing that opportunities may exist from time to time to expand its business through acquisitions or licensing deals, and while no such agreements currently exist, a portion of the net proceeds from the IPO may be used to pursue deals of that nature.

Twist is currently embroiled in an intellectual property theft lawsuit with Agilent Technologies which was filed more than two years ago against Twist and its Founder and CEO Emily LeProust. Agilent originally filed its complaint against Twist, LeProust, and 20 other unnamed defendants for breach of contract, breach of the duty of loyalty, and misappropriation of trade secrets, alleging that the defendants spent months as Agilent employees laying the groundwork for theft of Agilent IP related to oligonucleotide synthesis before leaving the company and founding Twist.

In a new complaint filed in August, Agilent claimed that it recently learned that former employees Siyuan Chen and Solange Glaize, in addition to LeProust, "misappropriated hundreds of documents containing confidential Agilent information, including documents setting forth trade secrets at issue in this case, and took them to Twist." As such, Agilent's amended complaint has named Chen and Glaize as co-defendants.

Twist named the lawsuit as a risk factor related to its business in its IPO filing.