Anthera IPO limps out at half price

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