Calyxt Going Public, Looks to Raise $105M
Calyxt Inc., a New Brighton-based agriculture company aimed at designing healthier foods using gene-editing technology developed by the University of Minnesota, kicks off its initial public offering this week.
The expected going rate for each share of Calyxt common stock (under the Nasdaq ticker “CLXT”) is anticipated to be between $15 and $18, the company said.
If all 6.1 million shares that are available sell (and if the underwriters exercise their full option to purchase additional shares of common stock), net proceeds from the IPO are expected to be about $105 million, according to an SEC filing made by Calyxt last week. That’s based off the midpoint of the price per share range.
French biopharmaceutical firm Cellectis, the parent of Calyxt, said it intends to retain majority ownership following the IPO. About 26 million shares of Calyxt are expected to be outstanding after the offering.
Earlier this year, Cellectis CEO Andre Choulika told analysts during an earnings report call that Calyxt had the potential to become the world’s “first commercial pure play gene-editing agricultural company.” Choulika said this in reference to positive progress its subsidiary had made on a soybean variety designed to produce healthier oil with zero trans fats and reduced saturated fats. Commercialization of the soybean (dubbed CAL-1501) is targeted for the end of 2018, Calyxt said.
It would be the first product to come out of the company, which has more than a dozen others in the works. “We are also developing a high fiber wheat to create flour with up to three times more dietary fiber than standard white flour,” Calyxt said in its SEC filing. “Another product candidate…is a herbicide-tolerant wheat designed to provide farmers with better weed control options to increase yields and profitability.”
Each of those products, including the soybean variety, would “address a potential multi-billion dollar market opportunity,” the company added.
In particular, oil from Calyxt’s unique soybean could see a large consumer adoption due to its positive health impacts. The U.S. Center for Disease Control claims up to 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 coronary heart disease deaths could potentially be prevented each year by reducing trans fat intake.
In March 2016, Calyxt paid $5.7 million for 11 acres of land in Roseville, expanding beyond New Brighton where it runs certain research and development operations. The Roseville site, which is set to become its new headquarters, currently holds its 10,900-square-foot greenhouse. Construction on a 35,000-square-foot office and lab building is underway.
Once complete—and outfitted with labs for gene editing and a commercial kitchen for developing and testing new products—Calyxt claims it will have in operation “the only ‘concept to fork’ facility of its kind.”
As of late May, Calyxt employed 27 people. It has said previously that its headcount could top 100 once its Roseville facility is fully operational.
Some of the proceeds from its IPO, in fact, are being slotted for growing Calyxt’s sales force. Approximately $10 million (of the assumed $105 million result) would go toward building out its commercial capabilities, Calyxt detailed to Nasdaq. Part of that sum would also go toward furnishing its commercial kitchen and producing test products and meals for potential customers to try.
Approximately $45 million from that same proceeds result would go toward funding research and development of products currently in the works, Calyxt said, as well as future projects.
Another $20 million is being dedicated toward working capital for seed production, grain purchases and meal and oil production. Any other proceeds would go toward general corporate purposes, the company said.
With its IPO, Calyxt becomes just the third Minnesota-based company in the last 12 months to go public.
Grand Rapids-based ASV Holdings Inc. raised $26.6 million last May through the sale of 3.8 million shares at $7 a piece. In July 2016, Minneapolis-based medical device maker Tactile Systems Technology Inc. raised $40 million by selling 4.1 million shares for $10 each.