UPDATED: Fresh burst of biotech IPO pitches launches a busy Q4 season

After a slight lull in the biotech IPO arena over the summer, new S-1s came piling in at the beginning of the fourth quarter as another round of hopefuls plunged into the market, hoping to imitate some of the stellar debuts that have greeted many drug developers this year.

Back in September Foundation Medicine ($FMI) priced over the range and immediately soared more than 80%. And Ophthotech ($OPHT) also crested its range, easing any lingering doubts--for now, anyway--about the short-term sustainability of the biotech IPO frenzy. Together they raised $273 million in a 24-hour pop.

In early August Intrexon ($XON) stepped up to shake hands with Wall Street, walking away with $160 million and a market value north of $2 billion--most of which is controlled by biotech billionaire Randal "RJ" Kirk--after its stock price soared on the debut. A spate of mostly underperforming IPOs followed, notably highlighted by a lackluster debut from Regado Biosciences ($RGDO)--which was subsequently rewarded with a sharp spike in its share price.

Regado wasn't alone. Going back over the performance of some of these slow starters revealed that many saw a fresh burst in the share price as analysts began to cover the companies. Companies like Cancer Genetics--initially far off its initial mark--followed up with new offerings to raise millions more.

A total of 39 biotechs have gone public so far this year, raising close to $3 billion. (I don't include Zoetis, an animal health company spun out of Pfizer which often makes the life sciences lists.) This is far and away the best IPO year for the industry since 2000 and a major improvement over 2012, as biotech offerings were beginning to make a comeback.

The batch of newly public companies includes Agios ($AGIO), which broke through the ceiling on its range despite the fact that it has no clinical data yet on any of its drug candidates. OncoMed ($OMED) and Onconova ($ONTX) also managed the same range-busting feat, though offerings from small outfits like Heat Biologics only managed the low end of the range. 

Getting a fresh source of capital and $3 billion-plus windfall to pump into clinical trials is a positive development for biotech. But in just a few short months, the market has moved from a deep chill to tropical heat. We know from past booms that once the frenzy begins, funds start chasing big returns and throw fundamentals out the window. With Intrexon, the biotech IPO boom began to look increasingly overheated.

No one, though, has any solid idea how long this streak will last.

The focus now shifts to the 15 biotechs angling for a big IPO of their own.

I've updated the biotech IPO list below as of October 21. As always, let me know if I missed anything. For more analysis on the IPO scene in the first half of 2013, check out our original report. -- John Carroll, Editor-in-Chief. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

H2: Acceleron Pharma

Based: Cambridge, MA
Stock symbol: XLRN
Range: $13 to $15
IPO price: $15.00
Close Oct. 17: $22.05
Change: Up 47%
Raised: $93 million

Scoop: Long allied with Celgene ($CELG), Cambridge, MA-based Acceleron--a 2010 Fierce 15 company--built its road show around three mid-stage programs: Sotatercept, ACE-536 and dalantercept. The first two are allied with Celgene as new treatments designed to boost red blood cell production in patients suffering from rare cases of beta-thalassemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. ACE-536 won orphan drug status for both indications back in March. And dalantercept is designed to inhibit blood vessels that feed tumors. Celgene initially signed on with Acceleron back in 2008, more recently expanding its collaboration to include 536. According to Acceleron's S-1, filed with the SEC, Celgene took over responsibility for all costs on the two programs at the beginning of this year and is committed to pay up to $567 million in milestones. Acceleron has co-promotion rights in the U.S. with a hefty 20%-plus royalty stream due on any sales made by Celgene.

H2: Agios Pharmaceuticals

Based: Cambridge, MA
Stock symbol: AGIO
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $18
Close Oct. 17: $28.40
Change: Up 58%
Raised: $122 million

Scoop: Agios tested investors' appetite for equity in a biotech that had yet to produce any human data on its pipeline candidates. And they found plenty of hunger, pricing their shares above the range. Founded by a trio of luminaries in the cancer metabolism field, the 2009 Fierce 15 company proved powerfully persuasive, joining a group of red-hot biotech companies that priced above the range. Investigators for the company have been working on preclinical programs for small molecules that can disrupt cellular metabolism, targeting specific mutated metabolic enzymes found in a range of cancers. One of its lead programs--AG-221--is bound for the clinic about now, while AG-120 is expected to begin a human study in early 2014.

Alcobra Pharma

Based: New York
Symbol: ADHD
Range: $10 to $12
IPO price: $8
Close Oct. 17: $19.29
Change: Up 141%
Raised: $25 million

Scoop: The low-profile Israeli biotech hadn't made much of an impression when it set out to raise a modest $27 million or so in an IPO. The money was intended to fund late-stage work on its oral ADHD therapy. But things initially didn't gone well for the biotech. Forced to take a serious haircut to make the IPO leap, the company's shares quickly slipped. But as analysts picked up coverage, the stock price has recovered and continued to head north.

Ambit Biosciences

Based: San Diego
Symbol: AMBI
Range: $13 to $15
IPO price: $8
Close Oct. 17: $17.94
Change: Up 124%
Raised: $65 million

Scoop: Ambit Biosciences was another biotech that saw its fortunes improve dramatically after pricing a star-crossed IPO. Starting out at only $8 a share, and forced to take a deep discount on the initial range of $13 to $15 that was trotted out to skeptical investors, the company took a nasty hit after Astellas dumped its $390 million pact. The biotech--named to the Fierce 15 way back in 2006--sold a bit more than 8 million shares at the reduced price, rather than the 4.6 million shares it had intended. But like other new entries, Ambit has seen its share price do very well in the months since. 

Aratana Therapeutics

Based: Kansas City, KS
Stock symbol: PETX
Range: $11 to $13
IPO price: $6.00
Close Oct. 17: $28.07
Change: Up 367%
Raised: $39.6 million

Scoop: Aratana believes that the usual approach to developing drugs for animals--adapting therapeutics developed for humans--leaves a lot to be desired. Instead, it has dedicated programs for a non-COXIB analgesic for treating pain, an appetite-stimulating molecule for inappetence, and a recently licensed nonopioid local anesthetic for treating postoperative pain. And it has a big market in mind for dogs and cats. Aratana's shares rose after it went public, then gyrated much higher than its initial range. A few days ago Aratana bought Vet Therapeutics, and saw another big leap in its share price.

H2: Bind Therapeutics

Based: Cambridge, MA
Stock symbol: BIND
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $15.00
Close Oct. 17: $15.00
Change: O%
Raised: $70.5 million

Scoop: Bind Therapeutics gained some enthusiastic investors as it pursued a new nanotech approach on drug delivery. Its lead therapy--BIND-014--recently began a mid-stage study. The biotech, which came from the busy lab of MIT professor Robert Langer, doesn't have products, but it does have closely-watched partnerships with Pfizer ($PFE) and Amgen ($AMGN). Bind is a 2008 Fierce 15 company.

Bluebird bio

Based: Cambridge, MA
Stock symbol: BLUE
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $17
Close Oct. 17: $24.11
Change: Up 42%
Raised: $116 million

Scoop: Bluebird bio's IPO in mid-June was so successful, the wags immediately began to speculate that the whole biotech IPO boom may soon be over--after it had just begun. The Third Rock Ventures-backed gene therapy/rare disease outfit--CEO Nick Leschly was part of the Millennium mafia that booted up the venture group--scored proof-of-concept data for adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD. Then bluebird, a Fierce 15 company, quickly shifted gears and focused on a late-stage study. The venture group that backs bluebird also includes Arch Venture Partners, Forbion Capital Partners, RA Capital Management, TVM Capital and some undisclosed investors. Third Rock owned 28% of the company ahead of the IPO.

Cancer Genetics

Based: Rutherford, NJ
Stock symbol: CGIX
Range: $10 to $12
IPO price: $10
Close Oct. 17: $16.69
Change: Up 67%
Raised: $7 million

Scoop: Cancer Genetics had modest plans by the time it actually triggered its IPO. It raised close to $7 million and will spend much of that on its diagnostics venture with the Mayo Clinic. But originally the company had dreamed of a $42 million windfall. The final amount left the company far off the mark on its initial investment plans. But the subsequent run-up in the share price allowed the biotech to follow up recently with a $46 million offering. 

H2: Cardio3 BioSciences

Based: Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium
Stock symbol: CARD
Range: €16.65 ($21.50) to €19
IPO Price: €16.65 ($21.50)
Close Oct. 17: €14.09
Change: Down 15%
Raised: $29.7 million

Scoop: The first biotech IPO in the second half of the year belonged to a rare European offering. The company's claim to fame is C-Cure, an experimental program which takes the body's repair cells, makes them heart cells and injects them into damaged organs to do their work. And Cardio3 designed the IPO to build on the work it's been doing in Europe with a U.S. study that could help pave the way to an approval in the big North American market. To help complete the IPO, two big investors--SRIW and PMV--committed to buying a big chunk of stock.

H2: Cellular Dynamics

Based: Madison, WI
Stock symbol: ICEL
Range: $12 to $14
IPO price: $12
Close Oct. 17: $17.30
Change: Up 44%
Raised: $46 million

Scoop: Founded by famed stem-cell pioneer James Thomson, Cellular Dynamics markets stem-cell lines for use in drug R&D. It has some revenue, but like a lot of biotechs, it is largely awash in red ink. Its SEC filing spells out that the company earned a little more than $5 million in product sales last year, against $14 million in R&D costs and total expenses of about $29 million.


Based: Durham, NC
Stock symbol: CMRX
Range: $13 to $15
IPO price: $14
Close Oct. 17: $17
Change: Up 21%
Raised: $118 million

Scoop: Chimerix's April IPO offered some early evidence this year that biotech offerings were heating up. But while the initial demand for its shares was hot, the bloom has come off the rose for this company--at least temporarily. Its venture backers say the Street tuned in to the potential of the biotech's antiviral portfolio. There's a pact with Merck ($MRK) to boast of and a late-stage program in place for CMX001, designed to prevent infections from cytomegalovirus. The biotech was flying high until recent news of a secondary offering made the rounds. Also, while it touted a Phase II study, the trial failed to hit an important endpoint.

H2: Conatus Pharmaceuticals

Based: San Diego
Stock symbol: CNAT
Range: $10 to $12
IPO price: $11
Close Oct. 17: $9.94
Change: Down 9%
Raised: $66 million

Scoop: With this deal, investors were treated to another story of a drug developer built around a compound from Pfizer ($PFE), which has shed many drug candidates amid recent efforts to shrink its R&D budget. Conatus acquired rights to its lead compound emricasan in a 2010 deal with the U.S. drug giant, which had acquired the asset in a 2005 buyout of Idun Pharmaceuticals for $298 million. Pfizer had sidelined the program in 2008 after evidence of inflammation in mice. Yet the former Idun execs now in charge of Conatus have advanced the candidate through mid-stage development. -- Ryan McBride

Enanta Pharmaceuticals

Based: Watertown, MA
Stock symbol: ENTA
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $14
Close Oct. 17: $20.66
Change: Up 47%
Raised: $65 million

Scoop: Enanta has a pipeline of products, but it's resting it's now resting its hopes on ABT-450, a crucial piece of AbbVie's ($ABBV) Phase III hep C program. In the spring of 2012 Enanta and Abbott (AbbVie was spun off later) announced that the protease inhibitor--developed by the two companies in a collaboration--in an interferon-free combo delivered a sustained viral response after 12 weeks of treatment for 91% of genotype 1 patients. And 82% of patients achieved SVR 36. The FDA subsequently named AbbVie's hep C cocktail a breakthrough therapy. And with hepatitis C in the spotlight, the biotech's stock has benefited from the market's attention. Enanta is a 2012 Fierce 15 company.


Based: Cambridge, MA
Stock symbol: EPZM
Range: $13 to $15
IPO price: $15
Close Oct. 17: $36.90
Change: Up 146%
Raised: $80 million

Scoop: Epizyme provided proof that early-stage biotechs can win at the IPO game as well as late-stage developers. In this case, they can also sometimes do better. Focused on small molecules that can play on epigenetic enzymes involved in cancer, the biotech successfully sold its vision of a fast-paced development plan to investors. And its lead program--EPZ-5676--went into a Phase I trial last fall for mixed lineage leukemia. A partnership with Celgene ($CELG)--which has been wheeling and dealing around blood cancers--helped establish the biotech's potential. Epizyme was named a Fierce 15 company in 2011.

H2: Evoke Pharma

Based: San Diego
Stock symbol: EVOK
Range: $12 to $14
IPO price: $12.00
Close Oct. 17: $12.72
Change: Up 6%
Raised: $25 million

Scoop: Launched by longtime biotech entrepreneur Cam Garner and run on a tight budget since its launch in 2007, Evoke is a single-product company. EVK-001 has run up a little more than $20 million in red ink since Evoke first opened its doors 6 years ago. Questcor ($QCOR) sold the rights to the drug to the low-profile biotech for $448,000 and a schedule of milestones and royalties.

Esperion Therapeutics

Based: Plymouth, MI
Stock symbol: ESPR
Range: $13 to $15
IPO price: $14.00
Close Oct. 17: $17.35
Change: Up 24%
Raised: $73 million

Scoop: Meet the new Esperion, successor to the biotech that Pfizer ($PFE) bought. The original team got back together and got the cholesterol drug ETC-1002 back from Pfizer, and their new company went on to raise $57 million to get the program through an early mid-stage study. And they hit the IPO market at just the right time, pricing right in the middle of their range. Their LDL-lowering pill was able to cut bad cholesterol by up to 43% in a Phase IIa study. Esperion is advancing the drug in the hopes that it can prove it works without causing some common side effects associated with statins like muscle pain and weakness--which eliminate an estimated 20% of the patient population.

H2: FateTherapeutics

Based: La Jolla, CA
Stock symbol: FATE
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $6.00
Close Oct. 17: $7.03
Change: Up 17%
Raised: $40 million

Scoop: Fate Therapeutics launched 6 years ago, when its strategy for developing new therapies using adult stem cells attracted considerable attention. That buzz, though, has died down considerably, and its IPO flopped rather badly, as the company was forced to slash its offering price in order to make the move to the public market. Its lead treatment, ProHema, is designed to rejuvenate the immune system, demonstrating some efficacy among patients with blood cancers.

H2: Five Prime Therapeutics

Based: San Diego
Stock symbol: FPRX
Range: $12 to $14
IPO price: $13.00
Close Oct. 17: $13.57
Change: Up 4%
Raised: $62 million

Scoop: Five Prime, founded in 2001, aims to use the proceeds of its proposed IPO to fund planned clinical trials of FPA088, which could be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and FPA144, a potential cancer therapy. The company had burned through $129 million in investor's capital through June 30. You'd have to dig deep in our archives to find a Fierce 15 profile on Five Prime from 2004. London-based Glaxo ($GSK) inherited the FP-1039 program through its acquisition of Human Genome Sciences last year, but the drug giant was already one of several companies on FivePrime's roster of pharma collaborators. The biotech outfit has hauled in more than $220 million from partnerships with companies such as Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Pfizer ($PFE), UCB and others. -- Ryan McBride

H2: Foundation Medicine

Based: Cambridge, MA
Stock symbol: FMI
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $18.00
Close Oct. 17: $34.88
Change: Up 93%
Raised: $106 million

Scoop: Foundation is gambling on the success of its FoundationOne cancer diagnostic, which launched last year. The diagnostic test is a sequencing-based assay that combs 236 cancer-related genes to match patients with ideal treatments, and while the company hasn't secured CMS reimbursement for the diagnostic, it has grabbed the attention of some headline-worthy drug developers looking to partner up. That story proved very persuasive to investors, who helped drive one of the key IPO successes of the year. -- Damian Garde

H2: Heat Biologics

Based: Chapel Hill, NC
Stock symbol: HTBX
Range: $10 to $12
IPO price: $10
Close Oct. 17: $10.83
Change: Up 8%
Raised: $25 million

Scoop: The Chapel Hill, NC-based cancer and infectious disease drug developer Heat Biologics, founded 5 years ago, develops new immunotherapies. But it barely managed to stay within the range and then saw share prices slip a bit on the first day of trading. The general groundswell of support for biotechs has since helped lift the stock. The biotech has only 5 employees but plans to hire up to 10 more staffers. Its lead program is in mid-stage development.

Insys Therapeutics

Based: Chandler, AZ
Stock symbol: INSY
Range: $8 to $10
IPO price: $8
Close Oct. 17: $42.30
Change: Up 428%
Raised: $37 million

Scoop: Insys has a pair of products including Subsys, a sublingual fentanyl spray for breakthrough pain in opioid-tolerant cancer patients. Its lead product candidate is Dronabinol Oral Solution, an oral formulation of dronabinol, which would be its second branded supportive care product, if approved. Investors evidently fell in love with the company after it reported quarterly profits earlier in the year. Some analysts, though, remain somewhat mystified by the overnight success of the stock.

H2: Intrexon

Based: Blacksburg, VA
Stock symbol: XON
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $16
Closed Oct. 17: $23.19
Change: Up 45%
Raised: $184 million

Scoop: It's hard to argue with the success of Randal "RJ" Kirk, though some have tried recently. He made two fortunes in his biotech career, one for Clinical Data ($CLDA) and the other for New River, before Intrexon came along. Selling those companies left Kirk with a fortune Forbes estimated at $2 billion. Now you can add a third. After sinking a big chunk of his cash into his synthetic biology company (a 2011 Fierce 15 company), which he took over back in 2005, Kirk ushered in one of the biggest IPO hits of a frenzied season. After its debut on Wall Street, shares quickly zoomed up past the $22 mark, leaving the company with a hefty market value of more than $2 billion and its wealthy chief executive--who controls close to 100 million shares--with another fortune.

KaloBios Pharmaceuticals

Based: South San Francisco
Stock symbol: KBIO
Range: $12 to $14
IPO price: $8.00
Close Oct. 17: $4.49
Change: Down 43%
Raised: $70 million

Scoop: KaloBios is still in Phase II with its lead assets--"new and improved" antibodies for respiratory disease and cancer. KaloBios CEO David Pritchard has been evangelizing the biotech's work on antibodies for several years, boasting that its better-engineered brands that bind to targets better make a natural second-gen approach to the field. But his sales theme--antibodies overall have a strong record of success--has yet to catch on with investors. A decision to try a follow-on sale of shares also didn't go over well on Wall Street, with shares dropping on one of the most lackluster IPOs of the year. The company was picked as a Fierce 15 company back in 2009 and is partnered with Sanofi ($SNY).


Based: Israel
Stock symbol: KMDA
Range: $13 to $15
IPO price: $9.25
Close Oct. 17: $16.34
Change: Up 76%
Raised: $52 million

Scoop: Kamada hasn't had much of a profile in the U.S., which is one reason why it went public. The biotech's F-1 describes the company as an orphan-drug-focused, plasma-derived protein therapeutics company with an existing marketed product portfolio and a late-stage product pipeline. Kamada develops and produces specialty plasma-derived protein therapeutics and currently markets these products through partners in the United States and through local distributors in emerging markets. The company has a proprietary platform technology for the extraction and purification of proteins from human plasma to produce Alpha-1 Antitrypsin as well as other plasma-derived proteins.


Based: Raleigh, NC
Stock symbol: LPDX
Range: $13 to $15
IPO price: $9
Close Oct. 17: $5.00
Change: Down 45%
Raised: $45 million

Scoop: LipoScience has already commercialized a heart-disease-related assay for the Vantera platform, shipping about 8 million units of the NMR LipoProfile test, which uses nuclear magnetic resonance detection to determine a patient's low-density lipoprotein particle number from a blood sample. With that information, physicians can better personalize how they treat patients at risk for heart disease, LipoScience says. -- Damian Garde

H2: MacroGenics

Based: Rockville, MD
Stock symbol: MGNX
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $16
Close Oct. 17: $25.17
Change: Up 57%
Raised: $80 million

Scoop: MacroGenics, a 2013 Fierce 15 company, plans to spend $50 million of its IPO haul on its lead program for margetuximab, a Phase II monoclonal antibody the company believes can treat HER2-positive breast cancer. MacroGenics has another $20 million earmarked for MGA271, a Phase I immunotherapy that targets the B7-H3 regulator, which is overexpressed in a variety of solid tumors, the company said.The company was named to the Fierce 15 this year, just as it was getting ready to go public. And its story carried weight on Wall Street in one of the year's top fall offerings.

NanoString Technologies

Based: Seattle
Stock symbol: NSTG
Range: $13 to $15
IPO price: $10
Close Oct. 17: $10.89
Change: Up 9%
Raised: $54 million

Scoop: NanoString is working to expand the adoption of its breast cancer diagnostic, pointing to a new study that found Prosigna to provide more information than a competitor. NanoString hopes those data will help it push Prosigna into more and more labs around the world as the company looks to grow revenue after a so-so IPO. The company plans to spend much of that haul making its case to customers, and data touting the CE marked test's prognostic abilities can't hurt, CEO Brad Gray said. -- Damian Garde


Based: Princeton, NJ
Stock symbol: OMTH
Range: $12 to $14
IPO price: $8
Close Oct. 17: NA
Change: NA
Raised: $64 million

Scoop: Omthera was just months away from filing for approval of the omega-3 cardiovascular drug Epanova when it went public in March, but investors didn't buy into the biotech's pitch. After setting a range of $12 to $14 a share for the company, the IPO went out at $8 and shares subsequently declined. Nevertheless, AstraZeneca ($AZN) saw value where the market didn't, agreeing to buy the biotech for $323 million--$12.70 a share--along with up to $120 million in contingent value rights.

H2: OncoMed Pharmaceuticals

Based: Redwood City, CA
Stock symbol: OMED
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $17
Close Oct. 17: $14.56
Change: Down 14%
Raised: $93.5 million

Scoop: Like other successful biotech IPOs, OncoMed had the support of backers offering to come in to support the maiden offering. Backers like Nomura Phase4 Ventures and US Venture Partners had provided a $154 million second round in 2008. And after pricing above the range, the share price continued straight up. But the stock hasn't worn well on Wall Street, falling into a steady decline in recent months. A couple of years ago, Bayer struck a $387 million development pact with OncoMed for each new cancer stem cell and protein therapeutic program targeting the Wnt pathway. The antibody OMP-18R5 was the first of these programs to make it into the clinic. OncoMed also struck a partnership deal with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) back in 2007 on anticancer stem-cell treatments. The developer has an early-stage project in its pipeline.

H2: Onconova Therapeutics

Based: Newtown, PA
Stock symbol: ONTX
Range: $12 to $14
IPO price: $15
Close Oct. 17: $21.75
Change: Up 45%
Raised: $80 million

Scoop: Most of Onconova's eggs are in a single basket--the ambitious program for the late-stage cancer drug rigosertib. But investors turned out eagerly nevertheless, once again bidding up to IPO price above the range. Last summer, the biotech announced that it had rounded up a $50 million commitment from its venture backers. And just weeks later Baxter ($BAX) stepped up with a $50 million upfront payment to snag the European rights to the drug, a multikinase inhibitor targeting mitotic and PI-3 kinase pathways.

H2: Ophthotech

Based: New York
Stock symbol: OPHT
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $22.00
Close Oct. 17: $28.75
Change: Up 30%
Raised: $167 million

Scoop: Investors were clearly sold on Ophthotech's story. And it hasn't lost their interest yet. The New York City-based biotech raised $175 million last spring, with Novo A/S leading a $50 million venture round and inking a $125 million royalty deal on the developer's Phase III-ready drug Fovista, which is designed to treat wet, age-related macular degeneration. The company is run by an experienced team of execs from Eyetech, which was acquired by OSI in 2005.

Portola Pharmaceuticals

Based: South San Francisco
Stock symbol: PTLA
Range: $13 to $16
IPO price: $14.50
Close Oct. 17: $23.84
Change: Up 64%
Raised: $141 million

Scoop: The South San Francisco-based biotech, a 2009 Fierce 15 company, boasts of a lead candidate called betrixaban in Phase III development. After former partner Merck ($MRK) handed back rights to the Factor Xa inhibitor to Portola in 2011, Portola CEO William Lis pushed his company to pursue the program alone. The late-stage development plan focuses on use of the candidate as a preventive treatment for acutely ill patients with a form of thrombosis called venous thromboembolism. -- Ryan McBride


Based: Leiden, The Netherlands
Stock symbol: RNA
Range: $11 to $13
IPO price: $13
Close Oct. 17: $4.41
Change: Down 66%
Raised: $89 million

Scoop: Prosensa licensed out its lead drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, drisapersen, to GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), which recently won the FDA's breakthrough drug designation after providing positive Phase II data that had been collected on 53 boys afflicted with DMD. Initially the biotech had one of the best IPOs of the year, and then GSK's Phase III study failed decisively, with only a marginal improvement for boys on the primary endpoint, and virtually none at all for key secondary endpoints. Prosensa shares immediately cratered and there's no sign of a comeback anytime soon. Prosensa--a 2012 Fierce 15 company--is following up with additional DMD drug programs that are being closely watched by boys suffering from this disease. GlaxoSmithKline is engaged in a development race with Sarepta ($SRPT), which has its own promising Phase II data to discuss.

PTC Therapeutics

Based: South Plainfield, NJ
Stock symbol: PTCT
Range: $13 to $16
IPO price: $15.00
Close Oct. 17: $19.47
Change: Up 29%
Raised: $144 million

Scoop: PTC's claim to fame rests largely on the back of ataluren (PTC124), which has been tested on both DMD and cystic fibrosis caused by "nonsense mutations." As PTC--a 2007 Fierce 15 company--notes in its S-1 filing with the SEC, ataluren failed both a Phase IIb study for DMD as well as a Phase III for cystic fibrosis. It even recently warranted a rebuke from regulators in Europe. But the biotech, which is led by Stuart Peltz, believes it's learned enough along the way to snag positive results in a final round of Phase III trials for both indications.

H2: Regado Biosciences

Based: Basking Ridge, NJ
Stock symbol: RGDO
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $4
Close Oct. 17: $5.66
Change: Up 41%
Raised: $43 million

Scoop: Regado Biosciences ($RGDO) didn't get an invite to the big biotech IPO party that's been going on at Wall Street for the past few months. After initially setting its sights on a $14-to-$16 range appropriate for an IPO frenzy, Regado recently said it was going to $5 a share--and actually priced at $4. The Basking Ridge, NJ-based biotech raised $43 million by bumping the number of shares on offer to 10.75 million--more than double the 5-million share offering initially expected and well below the $75 million that the developer was looking for to complete a pricey Phase III study. The company trades under the "RGDO" symbol. Late last year Regado's venture backers put up $51 million for a late-stage study of REG1, which uses two agents--pegnivacogin and anivamersen--to control bleeding during a coronary intervention and open heart surgery. The share price went up as analysts started covering the company, but it's still far off the mark it had set for itself.


Based: San Diego
Stock symbol: RCPT
Range: $14 to $16
IPO price: $14
Close Oct. 17: $33.13
Change: Up 136%
Raised: $72.8 million

Scoop: The 5-year-old company aims to compete in the blockbuster market for oral drugs against MS, an incurable disorder that causes nerve damage in the central nervous system and disability, with an S1P1R small molecule modulator called RPC1063. Next year the biotech group expects to report data from the midstage portion of a Phase II/III trial for the candidate in patients with relapsing MS. The late-stage portion of the study could take off in 2013, according to a regulatory filing. -- Ryan McBride

Stemline Therapeutics

Based: New York, NY
Stock symbol: STML
Range: $10-$12
IPO price: $10
Close Oct. 17: $37.99
Change: Up 279%
Raised: $38 million

Scoop: Stemline was the first biotech to debut on Wall Street this year, and its success helped persuade others to jump in. It's engaged in mid-stage development work with a trail of expenses and no income. But in a strong market, that's no longer the kiss of death. In its S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Stemline boasted that its two lead programs for SL-401 and SL-701 amply demonstrate its potential in targeting cancer stem cells and tumors. Another biotech, Verastem ($VSTM), recently pieced together a successful IPO with its cancer stem cell research. And this biotech has profited handsomely from some giddy forecasts from analysts at Jefferies. Stemline is planning to put 401 into a Phase IIb study of 200 patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia, while 701 will be pushed into a pediatric study for brainstem glioma and a separate trial for adult glioblastoma, or brain cancer.

H2: Sophiris

Based: La Jolla, CA
Stock symbol: SPHS
Range: $13
IPO price: $5
Close Oct 17: $4.50
Change: Down 10%
Raised: $65 million

Scoop: Sophiris' U.S. debut was less than auspicious. The biotech had wanted to sell 5 million shares at $13, but had to switch the equation to 13 million shares at $5. The cash-strapped developer got its $65 million, but had to give up far more of the company for it. And it badly needs the cash. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the company was down to a little more than $3 million in cash at the end of June, and investors could smell the desperation. Shares dropped 17% on the first trading day. Analysts also pointed out that despite the blistering hot IPO market that now exists for biotech, August is not the best month to go public. Sophiris already traded on the Toronto exchange and has operations in La Jolla. Report

Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals

Based: Watertown, MA
Stock symbol: TTPH
Range: $10 to $12
IPO price: $7.00
Close Oct. 17: $11.15
Change: Up 60%
Raised: $80 million

Scoop: Tetraphase--a 2010 Fierce 15 company led by Guy Macdonald--launched in 2006 with technology developed at Harvard, where Andrew Myers and his colleagues in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology had opened the door to creating new tetracyclines through synthetic chemistry. Its lead program, eravacycline (TP-434), is an IV broad-spectrum antibiotic, and there's a lot of excitement at Tetraphase about the possibility of creating unique oral antibiotics. This IPO didn't get off to a strong start, but it's been playing well with investors since the debut.

And Finally... here's a list of the biotechs that are lining up to go public.

AERI: Target - $84.5 million. Aerie's lead program is AR-13324, a topical eye therapy that just wrapped a Phase IIb study and is being prepped for a pair of pivotal studies designed to spur their first regulatory approval. If successful, Aerie says it will go on to hire a sales team of 100 reps to market the drug in the U.S., while looking for partners to cover the rest of the world

BIOC: Target - $23 million. Biocept, a maker of cancer diagnostics, is in the process of commercializing its first product--a breast cancer circulating tumor cell test performed on a blood sample--according to the San Diego company's S-1 filing. A second blood test for non-small cell lung cancer is due to hit the market in the first half of 2014. Also, Biocept noted it has inked collaboration deals with MD Anderson Cancer Center and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, with similar partnerships expected down the line. Story -- Mark Hollmer

CDX: Target - $86 million. CardioDx, a 2012 FierceMedicalDevices Fierce 15 company,  asserts it has a game-changing technology: a gene expression test designed to help rule out obstructive coronary artery disease. But the company is aggressively trying to grow its market share in an era in which diagnostics companies increasingly struggle to obtain reimbursement for their cutting-edge products. Story -- Mark Hollmer

CLDN: Target - $86 million. Celladon, a member of the 2012 Fierce 15, is seeking cash to advance its gene therapy for heart failure through a Phase IIb study and into Phase III. The drug, dubbed Mydicar, inserts the Serca2a enzyme into patients' heart cells, boosting cardiac muscle contractions to treat systolic heart failure. In its latest funding round, Celladon hauled in $53 million from a stable of investors that included the venture arms of Pfizer, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson. Story -- Damian Garde

EGLT: Target - $69 million. That cash primarily would be used to develop a couple of late-stage, abuse-resistant opioid drugs at Egalet Therapeutics. Technically, Egalet is based in Malvern, PA, where it has a 6-month lease on a less-than-palatial 255-square-foot "headquarters." Its main facilities are near Copenhagen, though, where it has a lab and administrative office support for its R&D work. While a string of U.S. biotechs has been raking in cash from the sudden burst of IPOs this year, the Europeans have largely been shut out, with some turning to U.S. investors as the only big group of buyers for biotech IPO these days. Story

GLYC: Target - $86 million. Gaithersburg, MD-based GlycoMimetics has completed a mid-stage trial of its lead therapy, GMI-1070, which is aimed at rare cases of vaso-occlusive crisis, a condition triggered by sickle cell disease. The biotech's expertise in carbohydrate chemistry earned a substantial pact with Pfizer ($PFE) in late 2011. In the S-1, GlycoMimetics revealed that Pfizer paid $22.5 million upfront to partner with the developer, promising $115 million in development milestones, $70 million in regulatory milestones and up to $135 million for hitting certain commercial goals. Story

KPTI: Target - $80 million. Karyopharm is an early-stage company with plans to fast-track a Phase II/III program for its lead therapy, Selinexor--or KPT-330. The big idea at the Natick, MA-based company lies in its approach to trapping tumor suppressing proteins in the nucleus of cancer cells, assisting in their destruction. And investigators have gained some preliminary insights into the treatment's ability to do what it's designed to do. The biotech believes it can vault quickly into a Phase II/III study in the first half of next year. Story

OXFD: Target - $86 million. Oxford Immunotec Global recently became the latest diagnostics company in recent weeks to catch IPO fever. The U.K./U.S. developer of blood tests for tuberculosis launched in 2002. In June 2012, it grabbed $28 million in new financing from a syndicate including the likes of Imperial Innovations, Invesco Perpetual, Clarus, New Leaf, DFJ Espirit, Wellington, SPARK Ventures, the Dow Chemical Company Kaiser Permanente Ventures and even the University of Oxford, which spun off the company. Report -- Mark Hollmer

RLYP: Target - $138 milllion. Relypsa is shooting for a big payday to help complete a prospective transformative leap into marketing. The IPO is built around patiromer, a new therapy for hyperkalemia which is designed to flush out high levels of potassium in the blood. The S-1 makes the case that the current dietary response to high potassium--which commonly afflicts patients with chronic kidney disease--is inadequate and the only approved therapy is poorly tolerated among patients. Story

RTGN: Target - $27 million. The little-known outfit Ruthigen has filed paperwork to raise up to $26.7 million in a public debut. The Santa Rosa, CA-based biotech group has based its IPO pitch on the promise of a preclinical drug candidate for treating infections in surgical patients. Ruthigen, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oculus Innovative Sciences ($OCLS), plans to file an IND later this year to begin human studies of its lead candidate, RUT58-60. Story -- Ryan McBride

TLOG: Target - $103.5 million. TetraLogic is resting the bulk of its pitch on a development platform for new drugs that hobble one of the body's mechanisms for resisting apoptosis, cell death triggered by abnormalities. By inhibiting proteins that protect cells from the process of self-destruction, the company believes it's found a pathway to help fight cancer. And it's wrapping a Phase I/II colorectal cancer study on a lead drug – birinapant – in preparation for launching a Phase II/III study next year. Birinapant is also being studied for ovarian cancer and blood cancers. Report

TRVN: Target - $86 million. With its lead drug poised to begin a Phase IIb study for acute heart failure, Trevena grabbed a $30 million investment from Forest ($FRX) back in May, which also picked up an option to snag global rights to the biotech's lead therapy with a deal that includes a $430 million potential payout. Forest stepped in to jointly oversee the next trial for TRV027 and Trevena banked a $60 million C series with the help of Forest and its existing venture syndicate. Report

VCYT: Target - $81 million. Veracyte recently disclosed more details about its planned initial public offering and also upped the stakes, raising the proposed maximum from just under $75 million to over $81 million. Separately, the molecular diagnostics maker and FierceMedicalDevices 2013 Fierce 15 winner touted positive preliminary results from a trial that would expand the use of its thyroid cancer gene expression test. The San Francisco, CA, company said in an updated S-1 filing that it will offer 4.7 million shares priced between $13 and $15 per share. In late September, Veracyte filed plans for an IPO worth as much as $74.8 million, just a few months after completing the final tranche of its $28 million Series C round. Then, and now, Veracyte has focused on accelerating the commercial launch of its Afirma Thyroid FNA Analysis test, which combines a specialized cytopathology assessment and gene expression test to figure out if a thyroid nodule is benign or a cancer suspect. Story -- Mark Hollmer

VTL: Target - $86 million. Vital Therapies will use its IPO proceeds to bankroll three Phase III studies of Elad, a biologic cellular therapy system for crumbling livers. Elad works by running patients' blood through a bedside unit that uses human liver-derived cancer cells to filter toxins out of the plasma, which is then pumped back into the patient, restoring liver function. Story -- Damian Garde

XNCR: Target - $69 million. Xencor--a 2005 Fierce 15 veteran--is planning to spend its proceeds on candidates for autoimmune and allergic diseases. The biotech made its name with XmAb, a biologics platform that can extend the half-life of antibodies and boost their targeting power, capabilities that lured partners like Pfizer ($PFE), Amgen ($AMGN) and Boehringer Ingelheim. Now the company is pushing forth with drugs of its own, and its IPO proceeds will fund a Phase IIb study for the Amgen-optioned autoimmune treatment XmAb5871 and a Phase Ib trial for asthma therapy XmAb7195. Story -- Damian Garde

And one that just didn't make it.

IRKO: Remarkably, at least one company couldn't get out of the gate. Philadelphia, PA-based Iroko Pharmaceuticals started fishing for $145 million to back its own drug work, but it later bailed out after citing poor market conditions. The biotech has high hopes for its pipeline of low-dose NSAID drugs designed to avoid the adverse events associated with the class.