As Washington State’s newest public firm, Icosavax is making a splash. On its first day of trading, the Seattle-based biotech company’s stock soared more than 200 percent. Icosavax generated almost $180 million by pricing its shares at $15 before the market opened on Thursday. Its stock, which trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker ICVX, started at $29 per share and quickly rose to over $47 before falling somewhat.
The stock closed at $35 per share on Thursday, up 133 percent. The business, which is a spin-off from the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design, is working on vaccinations that are designed to look like natural viruses. Neil King, a scientific co-founder of Icosavax alongside IPD head David Baker, devised its virus-like particle technology at the Institute for Protein Design.
The two COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by the company are made up of spherical nanoparticles studded with 60 copies of a main viral component, a small amount of the spike protein. Icosavax is also working on vaccines against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus, two viruses that cause pneumonia. There are presently no vaccinations available against these viruses that have been licenced by the FDA.The quick development of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the public’s awareness of science’s involvement in combating the pandemic, has given biotech an advantage in the eyes of the public and investors.