Second time unlucky for Viamet in topsy-turvy IPO week


For the second time in two years Viamet has dropped its plans to go public--this time abandoning a proposed $86 million IPO in a week that has been a mixed bag for biotech offerings.

Durham, NC-based Viamet Pharmaceuticals--a biotech developing small molecule metalloenzyme inhibitors to treat fungal diseases--postponed its IPO on Wednesday.

It had filed to raise $86 million by offering 5.7 million shares at a price range of $14 to $16 and was aiming to list on the Nasdaq as $VMET.

This is second time unlucky for the biotech, as back in 2014 it attempted to pull off an IPO worth around $75 million but later dropped its plans, instead raising $60 million through VC funds.

The IPO money was earmarked to help the company complete its ongoing Phase IIb clinical trials of VT-1161 in onychomycosis (a fungal infection of the nail) and recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis, while also starting Phase III trials in one or both of these indications.

It was also set to go toward completing an ongoing Phase I study and beginning a planned midstage test of VT-1129 for cryptococcal meningitis, a rare form of the disease that often originates in patients with compromised immune systems.     

Novartis' ($NVS) and Eli Lilly’s ($LLY) venture arms own 12.9% and 11.3% of the company, respectively, with the largest stockholder being Malin J1 Limited, a private funds firm based in Ireland.

This caps off a strange week in the biotech IPO market. A week ago, the bullish preclinical upstart Intellia Therapeutics went for the top range of its offering, gaining $108 million by selling 6 million shares at $18 a share. The Cambridge, MA-based CRISPR/Cas9 pioneer has grabbed considerable attention since being founded in 2014 and was helped no doubt in its confidence by the backing from Atlas and Novartis.

Meanwhile, Utrecht, Netherlands-based blood cancer specialist Merus, which also lists Novartis as well as Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Pfizer ($PFE) among its largest investors, is also on the cusp of going for its long-awaited $65 million IPO on the Nasdaq this month.

But then the late-stage biosimilars biotech Oncobiologics earlier this week slashed its proposed IPO deal size and now plans to raise $35 million by offering 5.8 million shares at a price of $6--after previously filing to offer 5 million shares at a range of $11 to $13, meaning it will raise 42% less than previously anticipated.

- here’s Renaissance Capital’s note