Five Prime Therapeutics pitches $60M IPO after string of pharma collaborations

Five Prime Therapeutics wants to follow more than two dozen other drug developers this year onto the public market. The South San Francisco-based biotech, a developer of protein drugs, has filed paperwork to complete an initial public offering.

Last week was one of the busiest for IPOs on record, with 5 life sciences companies completing maiden public offerings. While the public markets appear open to more biotech IPOs, not every drug developer has been able to pull off a successful debut. Last week, for instance, Emmaus Life Sciences ditched plans for a $27 million IPO amid a legal spat with AFH Holdings, Nasdaq reported.

In several high-profile IPOs for Epizyme ($EPZM), Agios ($AGIO) and others this year, investors have shown a willingness to bet on biotech companies without track records in clinical trials. Five Prime comes to the table with only one featured drug candidate in Phase I development. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is partnered on the experimental protein therapy, called FP-1039 or GSK 3052230, which targets cancer-promoting fibroblast growth factors.

Five Prime, founded in 2001, aims to use the proceeds of its proposed IPO to fund planned clinical trials of FPA088, which could be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and FPA144, a potential cancer therapy. The company had burned through $129 million in investor's capital through June 30. You'd have to dig deep in our archives to find a Fierce 15 profile on Five Prime from 2004.

London-based Glaxo inherited the FP-1039 program through its acquisition of Human Genome Sciences last year, but the drug giant was already one of several companies on FivePrime's roster of pharma collaborators. The biotech outfit has hauled in more than $220 million from partnerships with companies such as Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Pfizer ($PFE), UCB and others.

As Nasdaq reports, Pfizer has a 13.7% stake in Five Prime, which was the largest share of ownership among the listed investors--including Advanced Technology Ventures, Domain Associates, HealthCap, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Versant Ventures, Texas Pacific Group and Glaxo.

Pfizer's three-year collaboration with Five Prime expired in 2011, according to the biotech company.

- here's the S-1
- check out Nasdaq's article on the deal
- and the item on Emmaus

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