Biotech Stocks Day-in-Review: IPOs Heat Up

by: Centient Biotech Investor

Chinese biotech 3SBio (NASDAQ:SSRX) priced its IPO at $16, a substantial increase over the proposed $12-$14 range (see story). The offering placed 7.7 million American Depository Shares, each one representing seven ordinary shares. Approximately 512,000 ADSs were from selling shareholders. 3SBio expects to net over $102 million after fees and costs from the offering. 3SBio makes a version of anemia drug Epogen for the Chinese market. Although the pricing for the IPO was very strong, 3SBio did not fare particularly well in open-market trading. Shares of the company closed at $14.85, a loss of $1.15 or 7.2% from the IPO price.

Accuray (NASDAQ:ARAY) raised its proposed IPO range to $17-$18, a 17% increase mid-point to mid-point from the earlier range of $14-$16. Accuray, which is developing an intelligent robotic radiosurgery system for solid tumors, kept the size of the offering at 13,333,333 shares. The upward revision in price now gives Accuray a market cap of $1 billion. The IPO is scheduled to take place this week.

Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) began a registration trial for lumiliximab, an anti-CD23 monoclonal antibody, in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia [CLL]. Lumiliximab will be administered together with fludaribine, cyclophosphamide and rituximab [FCR], and compared to FCR alone. At the same time, Biogen Idec announced lumiliximab was given both Fast Track and Orphan Drug designations. The trial will enroll 276 patients. At ASH in December 2006, Biogen Idec released data from a Phase I/II trial showing that lumiliximab plus FCR produced a 52% complete response in patients whose CLL was progressing after prior therapy. Biogen Idec moved 38 cents higher to $49.32.

ViroPharma (VPHM) was given Orphan Drug designation for maribavir to prevent cytomegalovirus [CMV] viremia and disease in at-risk populations. CMV is a type of herpes virus, a group of viruses that includes chicken pox, mononucleosis, cold sores, and genital herpes. Most adult humans have CMV, though it is dormant. It becomes a problem in immunocompromised patients, including cancer patients, HIV patients, and transplant patients. ViroPharma gained 74 cents to end at $17.92.

Bioenvision (BIVN) asked European authorities to extend the indication for Evoltra to include acute myeloid leukemia [AML] patients who are older than 65 and have at least one other comorbidity. Evoltra is currently approved for pediatric patients with relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia [ALL] where there is no other suitable treatment option. Bioenvision slipped a penny to $4.74.

Forest Labs (NYSE:FRX) ended its year-old partnership with Replidyne (RDYN), a partnership that was developing the antibiotic faropenem. In October 2006, the FDA gave the compound a Not Approvable letter for four indications: acute bacterial sinusitis [ABS], community-acquired pneumonia [CAP], acute exacerbation of chronic bronchitis [AECB] and uncomplicated skin and skin structure infections [SSSI]. Replidyne said it would continue to develop faropenem. Forest Labs dropped $2.44 to $55.40, while Replidyne edged up 2 cents to $4.75.

The Centient Biotech 200™ rose 15 points to 4065, a gain of .36%. The S&P 500 moved .14% higher and Nasdaq was up by .77%.