Dimension pulls off a downsized $71.5M IPO amid biotech's Wall Street swoon

Dimension CEO Annalisa Jenkins

As has become the norm for biotechs going public, gene therapy player Dimension Therapeutics ($DMTX) priced its IPO below the expected range, raising $71.5 million as the industry continues to struggle on Wall Street.

Dimension, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, moved 5.5 million shares at $13 each, coming in short of the $14-to-$16 range it projected earlier this month. And the company promptly traded down about 10% after pricing, hovering around $11.50 per share on Thursday morning. Such a dip in valuation follows months of downsized debuts for drug developers, many of which have priced at much steeper discounts as biotech's IPO window has further tightened.

With the proceeds from its IPO, Dimension is moving forward with a pipeline of gene therapies for diseases of the liver. The company's top prospect is a treatment for hemophilia B, slated to enter the clinic this year, followed by early-stage therapies for ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency and glycogen storage disease. Dimension is also working with Bayer on a preclinical treatment for hemophilia A.

The company, a 2014 Fierce 15 honoree, is among a host of biotechs developing next-generation gene therapies they believe can provide one-dose treatments for serious diseases without the safety and deliverability problems that have plagued the field for years. Like Dimension, many among the new class of gene therapy companies have snagged Big Pharma partnerships to fortify their programs, with Sanofi ($SNY), Pfizer ($PFE), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and others ponying up for marketing rights.

Meanwhile, the once-frothy market for biotech companies has cooled over the past few months, as the industry's indices and exchange-traded funds have slumped to annual lows amid concerns about drug pricing and R&D success. Recent debutantes CytomX Therapeutics ($CTMX), Aclaris Therapeutics ($ACRS), Nabriva Therapeutics ($NBRV), Edge Therapeutics ($EDGE) and Mirna Therapeutics ($MIRN) all priced below their expected ranges, a quick reversal of fortune from the slew of high-dollar debuts that marked the second quarter.

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Special Report: FierceBiotech's 2014 Fierce 15 - Dimension Therapeutics