Forest's CNS partner Adamas shoots for IPO gold in $69M offering

Now that it's steered its way successfully through the treacherous waters of a Phase II/III study for a new-and-improved drug for Parkinson's, Adamas Pharmaceuticals believes this is the right time to mount a $69 million IPO bid as it sets the stage for a pivotal trial.

Adamas made headlines in the fall of the 2012 after it struck a $160 million dollar deal--$65 million upfront--with Forest Labs ($FRX) to develop a fixed-dose combination of Namenda XR and donepezil HCl for Alzheimer's dementia. And it followed up with positive data for ADS-5102, its extended-release version of amantadine for Parkinson's patients.

CNS has been a minefield for investigators in recent years, prompting some of the biggest players in the field to either pull back or exit entirely. But Emeryville, CA-based Adamas appears to be playing a game with better odds which has been also favored by Alkermes ($ALKS): Coming up with new formulations and combinations of existing therapies that can either prove easier for patients or address specific ailments with no currently approved therapies.

Adamas is betting that its story, including a high profile name like Forest, will win over investors at a time biotech IPOs have continued to sizzle--though not all of these offerings have been successful. Actavis ($ACT) is currently in the process of acquiring Forest.

According to its S-1 filing with the SEC, Adamas says it saw a significant reduction in levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's patients in the recent II/III study. And if it can get the same results for its me-better product in a pivotal study the company plans to launch the drug itself with a specialized CNS sales team that can take on added responsibilities as the product line grows. The biotech is studying the idea of taking ADS-5102 into an advanced study for behavioral issues associated with traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

The S-1 also reveals that after Forest paid over the initial $65 million upfront in their collaboration Adamas earned two $20 million milestones late last year, with another $55 million in prize money still up for grabs. Their combo drug, MDX-8704, wrapped studies on Alzheimer's and Forest submitted their NDA for the treatment sometime last month.

Adamas has also been successful at bringing in venture cash, raising $87 million as of the end of 2013. The biotech had $85.6 million in the bank at the end of last year and it plans to budget about $90 million for followup trial work on ADS-5102. The biotech plans to trade under the symbol "ADMS."

- here's the S-1