Sophiris rolls out $75M IPO to finance PhIII enlarged prostate drug

Over the past two years Sophiris Bio moved from Canada to San Diego, changed its name from Protox, lined up a new executive team and collected millions of dollars in fresh financing. And now it's ready to complete the restructuring phase with a $75 million U.S. IPO designed to finance a pivotal program for its lead drug.

Sophiris' claim to fame is PRX302, an experimental treatment for the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, and better known as an enlarged prostate.  The company licensed it from UVIC Industry Partnerships and The Johns Hopkins University, then struck a partnership deal with Kissei in 2010. Two pivotal studies are slated to launch in the first half of this year.

The injectable is a genetically altered form of the protein proaerolysin, which is only activated by a prostate specific antigen. In a Phase IIb study, investigators said that the drug provided a consistent benefit to patients over 12 months old without the side effects--including sexual dysfunction--associated with currently used drugs.

Biotech IPOs in the U.S. have had a mixed response on Wall Street over the past 6 months. Not all offerings have fared well. But the financial climate is significantly improved from the deep freeze of 2008-2011, when only a handful of development-stage companies managed to pull off a slate of weak IPOs.

Citigroup and Leerink Swann are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. Stifel and Lazard Capital Markets are acting as co-managers.

- here's the S-1
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Special Reports: Top 10 biotech IPOs of 2012 | The 10 biotech IPOs of 2011

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