Low-profile Axsome pitches a $57.5M IPO to fund pain drug R&D

New York-based Axsome Therapeutics isn't particularly well known in biotech circles, but it's nevertheless going to try to leverage a couple of clinical-stage drugs into a $57.5 million IPO at a time when much higher profile biotechs are finding their wings are being clipped by anxious investors.

Axsome, which identifies Dr. Herriot Tabuteau as its CEO, filed an S-1 for the IPO on Wednesday. The filing at the SEC comes just a few months after the company alerted regulators that they had sold about $2.5 million out of $7.5 million in notes.

Its lead drug is AXS-02, a nonopioid drug now in Phase III for what's called complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS. The S-1 refers to rat data to help establish that drug's rep. Its follow-up program is for a fixed-dose combination of dextromethorphan and bupropion for treatment-resistant depression and agitation associated with Alzheimer's.

Most of the company is owned by the CEO, through a separate entity--Antecip--licensed the drugs out to Axsome. Since the biotech was founded about three years ago, it's burned through roughly $12 million.

A string of biotech IPOs has encountered severe market turbulence on Nasdaq now that the Democrats have begun discussing ways to better manage drug prices in the wake of the Martin Shkreli scandal. That hasn't stopped others from joining the queue, though, and now little Axsome will try its chances alongside some much better known players in the industry.

- here's the S-1