Can Anthera whet investors' appetite for biotech IPOs?

In a fresh sign that biotech IPOs have begun a long-awaited revival, Anthera Pharmaceuticals has filed to sell $70 million of shares in a new initial public offering.

Talecris' move to launch its IPO yesterday came after a frustrated merger attempt for a company with 4,763 workers and major protein therapy manufacturing operations in place. Anthera's play will test whether a classic development company with no revenue and a long stretch of research work ahead can once again gain investors' trust and money after a two-year drought. Just last year its auditors expressed doubts about the company's ability to survive. But Anthera--which has 16 employees--has raised a little more than $45 million in venture capital from a group of savvy VCs that includes VantagePoint Venture Partners and Sofinnova Venture Partners.

Anthera is focused on inflammatory diseases, with two programs looking to inhibit secretory phospholipase A2 enzymes. One of its drugs is on the threshold of a late-stage study with two more headed into Phase II. Paul Truex runs Anthera. He's best known for his role as co-founder of Peninsula Pharmaceuticals, which J&J bought for $245 million back in 2005.

- here's the Dow Jones' report
- here's the report from the San Francisco Business Times