Cidara Therapeutics makes a quick leap into the growing Q1 IPO queue

A little more than 8 months after jumping out of stealth mode with a $32 million venture round and a game plan to develop new antifungals, Cidara Therapeutics CEO Jeff Stein is jumping into the queue for Nasdaq with an IPO designed to raise $69 million.

Cidara CEO Jeff Stein

Cidara is making a quick bet that its experienced executive team, lead program and development platform will draw in a group of investors who can bankroll the next leg of the journey in the clinic. According to the S-1 Cidara plans to use $25 million from the IPO to develop its lead drug, the IV CD101 (which was called biafungin when Cidara bought it) along with a parallel topical formulation program for CD101 through Phase II and into the start of Phase III. Another $25 million will be devoted to advancing preclinical programs and its development platform, dubbed Cloudbreak.

Cidara plans to list its shares under the $CDTX symbol. It's the latest in a big group of biotechs that is lining up to test the IPO waters at the end of Q1. The IPO window for biotech has now been opened wide for more than 2 years, though not everyone is being welcomed these days with open arms. Still, not long ago a freshman company like Cidara would have been frozen out of the market. Today, it's able to make the leap with a public track record less than one year long.

In part, Cidara is able to make a go of it because of the experience of the executive team, a factor that also contributed to its selection as a Fierce 15 company shortly after its launch in 2014.

Stein achieved prominent status in the biotech industry as he managed the pipeline at Trius--up until Cubist bought out the company. Cidara was co-founded by Kevin Judice and the management team includes Chief Development Officer Ken Bartizal, who filled the same role at Trius. COO Kevin Forrest is a co-founder from 5AM Ventures--which seeded the company in 2013--and is a co-inventor of the biotech's Cloudbreak immunotherapy platform. Just weeks ago the biotech's venture backers--a big group that includes Caxton Alternative Management, certain Fidelity funds, Perceptive Advisors, Portola Capital Partners, RA Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital and Sabby Capital, 5AM Ventures, Frazier Healthcare and InterWest Partners--added a $42 million mezzanine round to position the company for the IPO.

Adding in $459,000 in option awards last year, Stein made $871,598 last year, according to the S-1. Stein bought 1.16 million shares in the company for a half cent each last summer, with an option on another 7.8 million shares at 9 cents which vests over 4 years. The CEO is credited with 14 million shares total, or 5.9% of the company, while 5AM's Scott Rocklage owns 50 million shares (22%) and Judice has 4.7 million shares.

- here's the S-1

Special Reports: FierceBiotech's 2014 Fierce 15 - Cidara Therapeutics