Cerenis files for IPO to resurrect clinical-phase cholesterol drug

Cerenis Therapeutics has filed the paperwork for an IPO in Europe as it looks to bounce back from the failure of a trial of its HDL-like drug. The treatment failed to outperform placebo in a Phase II study that reported data last year, but the setback only temporarily dampened Cerenis' enthusiasm for the program.

Now, Toulouse, France-based Cerenis is turning to public investors for cash to test its belief that CER-001 is a good drug made to look bad by the last trial. Prior to the Phase II study, CER-001 had shown promise in two other proof-of-concept trials and--after getting past the initial shock of seeing it fail to outperform the placebo--Cerenis has spotted reasons to be cheerful about the most recent study.

The drug mimics high-density lipoprotein--the cholesterol that clears plaque--and picked up a pair of orphan statuses for genetic disorders that lead to a deficiency of HDL last year. Snagging the orphan drug statuses gave Cerenis other paths to market and coincided with it unveiling plans to raise more cash. At that time, Cerenis was unsure whether to return to its existing investors--Sofinnova Partners, OrbiMed and others have chipped in €117 million ($130 million) to date--or go public.

Cerenis revealed its decision this week, but the timing and pricing of the IPO are still up in the air. Nothing more exact than "soon" has been given in terms of timing, but the precedent set by other IPOs over the past few months suggests there is value in acting fast. Bone Therapeutics (EBR:BOTHE) and Poxel (EPA:POXEL) both hit their marks--and then blasted past them in early trading--when they went public in Europe early this year.

- read the release (French)