Ampio calls off a $30M IPO for its men's health offshoot

Ampio Pharmaceuticals has postponed a plot to spin out one of its subsidiaries through an IPO, citing unfavorable market conditions.

Back in April, Ampio filed an S-1 for Vyrix Pharmaceuticals in an effort to raise $30 million and get its sexual dysfunction-focused subsidiary on the public markets. Vyrix is at work on Zertane, a formulation of the pain treatment tramadol hydrochloride that is designed to prevent premature ejaculation. The plan was to put Vyrix's IPO proceeds into Phase III trials for Zertane in the near term, applying for FDA approval thereafter.

Now, facing a less-than-predictable market for biotech IPOs, Ampio has indefinitely delayed the idea, saying in a regulatory filing that it will continue "to explore strategic alternatives with Vyrix."

As for Ampio, the company has watched its shares sputter after revealing in August that Phase III results on its lead osteoarthritis drug would be postponed because the trial supplies of the treatment were exposed to extreme cold. The ensuing delay has cut the biotech's stock price by more than 50%.

Meanwhile, the volatile reception for biotech IPOs continues. More than 70 drug developers have gone public in 2014, but the frothy valuations of the early year have long since subsided, leaving many market entrants to either accept painful discounts to their planned prices or to put off their offerings altogether.

And even those that manage to make it out have lately had a hard time maintaining their debut values. Last month, Forward Pharma ($FWP) pulled off one of the year's biggest debuts with a $221 million raise only to see its shares drop sharply that very morning. Dermira ($DERM) suffered a similar fate a few weeks before, joining a list of postpricing laggards that includes Foamix ​Pharmaceuticals ($FOMX) and Auris Medical ($EARS).

- read Ampio's filing