Aerie hits the Street with $67M IPO as Recro swings for $28M

Aerie Pharmaceuticals is making its public debut Friday, pricing a scaled-down $67.2 million IPO and landing on the Nasdaq under "AERI." Meanwhile, tiny pain drug developer Recro Pharma is swinging for $28 million, hoping to follow in Aerie's footsteps and cash in on the still-booming market for biotechs.

For Aerie, its final IPO pricing gets the company close to the $69.5 million it sought earlier this month, but only in exchange for cheaper stock. The biotech boosted its offering by about 1.4 million shares and priced them at $10, well below the $12 to $14 range it expected. Aerie's underwriters can snag another 1 million shares to cover overallotments, setting the company's high-end take-home at $77.2 million.

With the cash, Aerie will fund Phase III trials for AR-13324, a topical treatment for open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension, and a Phase IIb study of PG324, which pairs AR-13324 with glaucoma drug latanoprost to decrease intraocular pressure.

As for Recro, the 5-person company has filed for a $28 million IPO to fund the development of Dex-IN, an intranasal formulation of the nonopioid pain treatment dexmedetomidine. The drug performed well in a Phase I study on patients with chronic lower back pain, the company said, and Recro is gearing up for a Phase IIb trial targeting postoperative pain, figuring its IPO raise would get the drug all the way through to manufacturing.  

And the sooner the better: Recro has run up $15 million in losses since its 2007 inception and was nearly out of cash as of June 30, and its backers likely see 2013's IPO blitz as the company's best chance to re-up. 

Neither company has posted so much as a dollar in revenue, but, in the middle of a bullish--and bubblish--market for biotechs, that's unlikely to stand in the way of Wall Street success. With the ring of Friday's opening bell, Aerie becomes the 40th biotech to go public this year, contributing to a combined haul of around $3 billion. Including Recro, there are now at least 14 companies with S-1s in the wings, angling to add another few hundred million to that total.

- read Aerie's announcement
- check out Recro's S-1

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