Anthera IPO limps out at half price

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In an ominous display of financial weakness, Anthera Pharmaceuticals went public this morning, pricing its shares at half of what it had originally hoped for. Deutsche Bank says the IPO raised $32.2 million for Anthera, which has no products on the market and projected several more years of red ink to would-be investors.

Anthera had originally outlined plans to sell 4.6 million shares for $13 to $15 each, which would have raised up to $69 million. But after the IPO was met with a significant level of indifference, the developer first delayed the sale and then cut the targeted price to $8 to $9. On Friday, Anthera cut the share price again, this time down to $7.

Near the beginning of the year the industry experienced a surge of hope that 2010 could mark the beginning of a big new round of biotech IPOs, an exit door that had been nearly welded shut from mid-2008 on. The excitement hit a peak when Ironwood announced plans for a big $272 million IPO. But after Ironwood took a big haircut, it's become increasingly clear that investors are in no mood for any kind of offering at what would be considered a premium price.

Anthera has posted $65.2 million in losses over a little more than five years. It has a lead inflammation-disease program in late-stage testing.

- here's the report from the Wall Street Journal

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