Biotech IPOs Flow: Four Life Sciences Companies Make Their Debut

by: The Burrill Report

By Marie Daghlian

Nine life sciences companies have made their U.S. market debut in the past two weeks, ranging from digital health plays to biofuels makers, albeit with mixed results. This week’s offering included renewable fuels and chemical developer Gevo (NASDAQ:GEVO), the tools company Fluidigm (NASDAQ:FLDM), biotech drug developer AcelRx (NASDAQ:ACRX), medical device maker Kips Bay Medical (NASDAQ:KIPS).

Gevo was the first to complete its IPO, going public at the top of its target range. The company sold 7.15 million shares at $15 to raise $107 million. Trading under the symbol GEVO, its shares ended the week up 4.3 percent. Burrill & Company, publisher of The Burrill Report.

Next up, Fluidigm priced at the bottom of its range, at $13.50, and raised $75 million. Its shares, trading under the symbol FLDM, ended the week up almost 4 percent. Kips Bay Medical also priced at the bottom of its target range, offering just 2.1 million shares to raise $17 million. Shares, under the symbol KIPS, ended the day down less than 1 percent.

AcelRx, the only healthcare biotech in the bunch, had to slash its price to get its deal done. AcelRx had hoped to go public last week but poor market reception delayed its offering. The company had hoped to price between $12 and $14 a share but dropped its price to $5. It raised $40 million to debut on Friday under the symbol ACRX. Its shares ended their first day of trading off 10 percent.

The Redwood City, California-based company’s lead drug, a treatment for acute and breakthrough pain is currently in mid-stage development. Its poor reception and subsequent performance is indicative of a market that is just not excited by a company that is not a near-term revenue play. Another biotech that had its debut last week, Pacira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PCRX), also had to slash its price in half to go public. It also ended the week below its offering price, but just off by 1 percent. Endocyte (NASDAQ:ECYT), the only other health biotech to go public in the U.S. so far this year, also struggled to IPO. It had hoped to offer its shares for $13 to $15 but ended up offering them for $6. However, investors may like its story better. Its lead drug, an ovarian cancer treatment that is being paired with a companion diagnostic, is ready for late stage testing. Shares of Endocyte ended the week up almost 19 percent.

The best performer of the nine, by far is Epocrates, a digital health company that allows doctors and healthcare professionals to access information about drugs, diseases, insurance, lab data, and patient data from their mobile devices at the point of care. The company offers several fee apps besides its premium products and makes most of its revenue from pharmaceutical companies that want to capture those eyeballs and conduct market research. It went public above its target price and ended its second week of trading 43.7 percent above its debut price.


Global Venture Financings
Company Location Amount Raised (USD M) Principal Activity
Elenza Roanoke, VA 24.0 Medical devices
Ulthera Mesa, AZ 10.5 Medical devices
Arsanis Lebanon, NH 9.6 Antibody discovery
SironRX Therapeutics Cleveland, OH 0.5 Wound care
to-BBB technologies Leiden, Netherlands 5.4 Drug delivery
Altacor Cambridge, England 3.0 Specialty pharma
Scandinavian Micro Biodevices Copenhagen, Denmark 2.8 POC diagnostics
Eviagenics Paris, France 1.8 Tools/Technology
Total Raised US 44.6
Total Raised Non-US 13.0
Company Funding Agency Amount Raised (USD M) Principal Activity
Galapagos (Belgium) Flemish agency for Innovation by Science and Technology 3.7 Antivirals
Geospiza NIH NHGRI phase II SBIR 1.2 DNA sequencing
Total Grants 4.9
Public Financings
Company Ticker Amount
Raised (USD M)
Financing Type
Gevo GEVO 107.0 IPO
Fluidigm FLDM 75.0 IPO
AcelRx Pharmaceuticals ACRX 40.0 IPO
Kips Bay Medical KIPS 17.0 IPO
RedHill Biopharma (Israel) Tel Aviv 13.6 IPO
Verisante Technology (Canada) TSX-V:VRS 1.0 PIPE
BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics (Israel) OTC:BCLI 0.3 PIPE
Paladin Labs (Canada) TSX:PLB 34.9 Follow on
Repros Therapeutics RPRX 11.8 Follow on
Marina Biotech MRNA 5.1 Follow on
Optimer Pharmaceuticals OPTR 67.5 Follow on
Cynapsus Therapeutics (Debt) TSX:CTH 0.3 Debt
Sanuwave Health OTC:SNWV 4.1 Option exercise
American Scientific Resources Pink:ASFX 10.0 Equity line agreement
Total Public Financings-US 337.5
Total Public Financings-Non-US 50.1
Acquirer Target Deal Value
Danaher Beckman Coulter 6,800.0 Tools/Technology
Fosun Pharma (China) Dalain Aleph Biomedical (China) 102.4 Vaccines
Cephalon Alba Therapeutics 22.0 Immunology
Evotec (Germany) Kinaxo Biotechnologies (Germany) 21.7 Drug deveopment
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Orphatec Pharmaceuticals (Germany) 3.0 Rare disease
Crawford Wound Care (United Kingdom) Ark Therapeutics (United Kingdom) 4.3 Woundcare
Becton, Dickinson Accuri Cytometers N/A Tools/Technology
Pfizer Ferrosan subsidiary (Denmark) N/A Consumer products
Circassia (United Kingdom) Airmid drug rights N/A Autoimmune
Company/Licenser Company/Licensee Deal Value
XDx LabCorp N/A Diagnostics marketing agreement
Optimer Pharmaceuticals Astellas Pharma (Japan) 224.0 Infectious drug license
Progenics Pharmaceuticals Salix Pharmaceuticals 350.0 Marketed GI drug license
Genzyme Valeant Pharmaceuticals 9.0 Marketed Orphan drug license
Allergan Valeant Pharmaceuticals N/A Marketed acne drug license
Elan (Ireland) Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany) N/A Antibody therapeutics partnership
Anacor Pharmaceuticals Medicis Pharmaceutical 160.0 Acne drug discovery collaboration
ThermoGenesis Beike Bio-Technology (China) N/A Stem cell systems marketing agreement

Disclosure: Burrill & Company, publisher of The Burrill Report, is an investor in Endocyte.