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Minnesota Gene-Editing Company Calyxt Enters the Market With a Bang

Chris Lange

Calyxt, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLXT), which uses gene-editing technology to develop more healthful food, entered the market with a bang on Thursday in its initial public offering (IPO). The company ended up pricing its 6.06 million shares at the low end of its expected price range of $8 to $10 per share, with an over allotment option for an additional 909,091 shares. At the $8 price level, the entire offering is valued up to $55.75 million.Calyxt

Although shares are now trading up close to 30% from this price level, they did take a big step back from the IPO's original valuation. The company originally expected shares to price in the range of $15 to $18 per share, but this was valuation was reduced by nearly 50%.

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Shares Calyxt were last trading up about 30% at $10.40, with a range of $9.26 to $11.64 on the day thus far.

The underwriters for the offering are Citigroup, Jefferies, Wells Fargo, BMO Capital Markets and Ladenburg Thalmann.

New Brighton, Minnesota-based Calyxt is a consumer-centric, food and agriculture focused company. By combining its leading gene-editing technology and technical expertise, Calyxt is looking to deliver healthier specialty food ingredients, such as healthier oils and high fiber wheat, for consumers and agriculturally advantageous crop traits, such as herbicide tolerance, to farmers. While the traits that enable these characteristics may occur naturally and randomly through evolution — or under a controlled environment through traditional agricultural technologies — those processes are imprecise and take many years, if not decades.

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This gene-editing technology enables the company to edit a plant genome to elicit the desired traits and characteristics, resulting in a final product that has no foreign DNA. Management believes the precision, specificity, cost effectiveness and development speed of its gene-editing technologies will enable it to provide meaningful disruption to the food and agriculture industries.

In the filing, Calyxt detailed:

"Food-related issues including obesity and diabetes are some of the most prevalent health issues today and continue to grow rapidly. As awareness of these diet-related health issues grows, consumers are emphasizing a healthier lifestyle and a desire for nutritionally rich foods that are more nutritious, better tasting, less processed and more convenient. This trend is leading to an increase in the demand for higher valued, premium segments of the food industry, such as higher fiber, reduced gluten and reduced fat products. As a result of these trends, food companies are looking for specialty ingredients and solutions that can help them satisfy their customers’ evolving needs and drive growth in market share and new value-added products.''

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The company intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to fund its research and build commercial capabilities, with the remainder going toward working capital and general corporate purposes.

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