Anthera Off to a Humble Start

Includes: ANTH, IRWD
by: The Burrill Report

Freshly minted shares of Anthera Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ANTH) sold for just half their original target price during the company's March 1 IPO, raising merely $42 million instead of the anticipated $70 million. Concurrently, the company completed a private placement of about 2.6 million shares, raising an additional $17.1 million, for a total of approximately $53.8 million.

Anthera, which focuses on inflammation-associated diseases, also gave a little more than 500,000 shares to Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Shionogi and Co. (OTC:SGIOF) to pay down a $3.5 million milestone payment for the initiation of a trial for its lead drug, A-002, a treatment for acute coronary syndrome.
Not surprisingly, the $7 per share IPO was delayed and disappointing for optimists hoping the development-stage biopharmaceutical would light the way to a shining 2010 full of lucrative offerings with fellow IPO adventurer Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IRWD).
Ironwood fared little better. Its shares went for $11.25 a piece, well below the company's $14 to $16 target and nearly half were sold to its top private investor, Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS).
Anthera's shares have clung fairly close to their original price since their open, falling as low as $6.90 and rising as high as $7.39, but they have consistently closed within a nickel of $7.10 during the first four days of trading.