Belgian biotech Cardio3 completes modest IPO

Cardio3 BioSciences has joined the swelling ranks of biotech outfits with completed IPOs this year. The Belgian developer of cellular therapies priced its shares Thursday at the low end of its proposed range of €16.65 to €19 ($21.44 to $24.47), Reuters reported. The sale of 1.4 million shares brought in about €23 million (nearly $30 million), providing funds for late-stage development of the company's cellular therapy for heart failure.

Cardio3, which was trading up about 17% to €19.50 ($25.11) per share this morning, drew roughly half as much money from its maiden public offering as most biotech companies that have gone public this year. This makes the deal less impressive than The Netherlands-based Prosensa's ($RNA) $78 million IPO last month, with the price of that company's shares jumping about 50% on the first day of trading.  

With the proceeds of its latest financing, Cardio3 has proposed to expand the Phase III program for its C-Cure treatment for heart failure to the United States. The company has already begun dosing patients with the regenerative cellular therapy in its Phase III study in Europe. Heart failure affects millions of patients in the U.S. and Europe, providing a huge market opportunity for new therapies.

While there's a need for new heart-failure treatments, Cardio3 faces steep development costs for C-Cure to provide regulators with ample evidence that the therapy can be safe and effective for the large patient population. It also faces some stiff competition from the likes of Novartis ($NVS) and others with new heart failure therapies in development. Prior to the IPO, Cardio3 said that the company had raised €60 million from equity sales and public financing.

Last month the FDA granted "breakthrough" status to Novartis for RLX030, the company's experimental drug for acute heart failure in late-stage development, giving the treatment a leg up in the review process because the U.S. agency has committed to make programs with such status top priorities.

- see Reuters' article