Wednesday, September 16, 2009

1 IPO! 2 IPO?? 3 IPO???

UPDATE: Lots can happen between an early morning blog post and the end of the business day. In this case Omeros has set its IPO terms; 6.82M common shares offered between $10 and $12 per share. So the company is hoping to raise between $68.2 and $81.8M. The planned ticker to trade under is NASDAQ: OMER. Bring on the opening bell!

First Fed Chairman Bernanke says that the worst recession since the Great Depression is seemingly behind us, then my home re-appraises for 30K higher than what was hoped and prayed for, and now…all sorts of activity in the life science IPO market. What is going on here? Have we hit bottom? A quick scan to my right of the early CNBC coverage and I see that the market is up +31 at the open, green, green, green everywhere I look. Really? Hmmm…well ever the optimist, I too am swinging from Bear to Bull and in fact would like to go out on a limb here and have CLSDF call Tuesday 16 September 2009 as the bottom.

The public life science markets have been en fuego the last few months; just take a look at the NASDAQ Biotech Index (below) and similarly the 2Q09 OnBioVC Trend Analysis [HERE] shows similar positive investment growth in the private life science companies.

Last month Nashville, TN-based Cumberland Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CPIX) went public raising $85M @ $17 per share and was essentially the first IPO in about two years sans the Bristol-Meyers Squibb (NASDAQ: BMY) spin-off of the Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE: MJN) unit. Since its debut Cumberland has more or less maintained its strength and avoided a major sell-off, at last check it is trading at $15.40. And just last week Cumberland launched their fever and pain drug Caldolor®, an injectable form of ibuprofen intended for patients who are hospitalized and cannot take oral drugs.

Now with Cumberland a public entity and certainly enjoying the time, effort and expense of remaining a public going-concern here comes the flood of filings behind them. Well OK, perhaps just a trickle, but the trickle may be the preface to the flood.

Filing paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission is the Seattle-based biotech Omeros, a clinical-stage company whose most advanced product candidate is OMS103HP, designed to improve postoperative joint function and reduce pain following arthroscopic anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery. Currently in Phase III an NDA filing is expected to be submitted to FDA in 2H10. The planned offering would be underwritten by Deutsche Bank Securities, Wedbush Pacific Growth Life Sciences, Leerink Swann, and Needham & Company, according to the filing.

Similarly Research Triangle Park, NC-based Talecris has also filed paperwork with the SEC regulatory agency. With more than 4,500 employees and annual revenues north of $1.4B a Talecris IPO is certain to dwarf what happened with Cumberland and Omeros, if they can get out, being a pre-revenue entity. It would not be surprising to see upwards of $1B raised on this offering. Talecris is marketing Gaumnex® for immune therapy deficiencies, Prolastin® for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency and Koate-DVI® for hemophilia.

Clearly there is a buzz of activity transpiring in the space. Where will you be positioned when the flood gates open?

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