AcelRx will try to sell investors on an $86M IPO

Despite plenty of recent evidence of investors' lukewarm appetite for biotech IPOs, AcelRx Pharmaceuticals has announced plans to try and raise $86 million in an initial offering. There's no word yet on how many shares or what price will be offered. Piper Jaffray is acting as sole book-running manager while Canaccord Genuity, Cowen and Company and JMP Securities are acting as co-managers.

AcelRx named Richard King, the former president of Tercica, as its CEO back in April. The Redwood City, CA-based company has been developing a slate of pain drugs for post-operative and breakthrough cancer pain as well as a mild sedative and boasts of a new drug platform.

A year ago, AcelRx says it successfully completed an end-of-Phase II meeting with the FDA for ARX-01, a drug/device combo that enables delivery of sufentanil by the non-invasive sublingual route. IPO planning appears to be hot again now that a slate of new offerings have hit. But several biotechs have found recently that they still face a very skeptical audience of investors. And despite an ongoing late-stage study for post-operative pain, AcelRx still has no product revenue to speak of.

- check out the AcelRx release
- here's a note from Renaissance Capital