Biotechs queue up for $269M in fresh IPOs amid a sector rebound

Four more drug developers are angling to make Wall Street debuts, lining up to raise a combined $269 million as the market for biotech IPOs has shown renewed signs of life after a tepid spring.

Tobira Therapeutics, Immune Design, Zosano Pharma and Macrocure have all handed in S-1s in hopes of going public and bankrolling their pipeline treatments. And their timing is likely no accident. The market's appetite for biotech IPOs has ebbed and flowed since the onset of last year's boom, and, after a trying respite in May, investors now seem to be all ears to convincing stories in drug development.

First up, Tobira is seeking $69 million to hit the gas on cenicriviroc (CVC), an immunomodulator with potential in liver disease and HIV. The company is gearing up to start a Phase II trial of CVC in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an en-vogue therapy among investors after success in the field propelled Intercept Pharmaceuticals ($ICPT) to dazzling heights earlier this year. Behind the NASH program, Tobira is working on a CVC-led fixed-dose combo for HIV type 1, and the company is mapping out a late-stage trial in that indication.

Immune Design, as its name suggests, is developing treatments that harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer, and the company wants $60 million to fund the effort. The biotech has three Phase I candidates on its roster, all developed using its platforms that create tumor-specific cytotoxic T cells. There's LV305, under investigation in 5 tumor types; G100, being developed for Merkel cell carcinoma; and CMB305, a combination of LV305 and the immunotherapy G305 that Immune Design believes may be its most promising asset.

Zosano Pharma, a Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) spinout, is seeking $65 million to fund its work on a transdermal patch that can deliver proprietary formulations of existing drugs without the need for injections. The biotech's pipeline includes treatments for osteoperosis, severe hypoglycemia and migraine.

Finally, Israel's Macrocure is seeking $75 million to bankroll the development of cell therapies for wound care. The company's chief asset, CureXcell, works by injecting living white blood cells into a patient, and the treatment is in the midst of two Phase III studies in diabetic foot ulcers and venous leg ulcers. Macrocure expects to report out data next year and file for FDA approval in 2016.

The new offerings come just days after Ocular Therapeutix filed for an $86 million IPO and Atara Biotherapeutics put in for $50 million. Meanwhile, 7 biotechs are expected to make their market debuts this week, buoyed by a recent return to bullishness in the space. Last week, Kite Pharma ($KITE) pulled off an above-the-range debut of $128 million, and Zafgen ($ZAFG) and Ardelyx ($ARDX) made it through without having to discount their shares.

- here's Tobira's S-1
- read Immune Design's filing
- check out Macrocure's note
- and Zosano's submission

Special Report: Biotech's breathless quarter of IPOs brings in $2.1B for R&D

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