Biotech IPOs: A planned big week comes up short as offers fizzle

Seven life sciences companies were expected to go public this week, raking in nearly $400 million combined amid a return to bullishness for biotech IPOs. That, however, didn't work out, as only one hopeful made it through after taking a deep discount.

Amphastar Pharmaceuticals ($AMPH) was the week's lone success, and the California drugmaker priced at $7 a share, far below its expected $10 to $12 range, and grossed $56 million, about 70% of its desired sum.

Meanwhile, Syndax Pharmaceuticals didn't make it out of the gate with its plans to raise $69 million and bankroll the Phase III entinostat for breast cancer, and neither did Ambrx, which sought $86 million. CNS biotech Minerva Neurosciences couldn't follow through on its $60 million pitch, and GlobeImmune, which already postponed a previous attempt, appears to have put off a $25 million opportunity. Diagnostics outfits KineMed and Microlin Bio were no-shows on respective bids for $32 million and $30 million.

The string of misses comes amid a bit of renewed optimism for biotech IPOs. After a record-setting first quarter, industry floats hit a rough patch in the early spring, but recent high-dollar successes from Zafgen ($ZAFG) Kite Pharma ($KITE) and Ardelyx ($ARDX) stoked hopes of a rebound.

Another crowded class of drug developers has since queued up to squeeze through the IPO window. This week, Tobira Therapeutics, Immune Design, Zosano Pharma and Macrocure all filed to make their Wall Street debuts, joining a list that includes Ocular Therapeutix and Atara Biotherapeutics.

- here's Amphastar's release

Special Report: Biotech's breathless quarter of IPOs brings in $2.1B for R&D

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