Bullish Relypsa eyes $138M in bumped-up IPO pitch

Fresh off posting some positive Phase III results for its lead drug, California's Relypsa has scaled-up its proposed IPO, seeking $138 million to carry it toward FDA approval.

Upping its proposed offering by $11.5 million, Relypsa plans to spend up to $80 million to complete development of patiromer, a drug designed to treat life-threateningly high levels of potassium in the blood, commonly found in patients with chronic kidney disease or heart failure.

The condition, called hyperkalemia, can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death, and, in top-line results released this week, patiromer aced the second part of its Phase III study, beating out placebo in preventing hyperkalemia recurrence after initial dosing. Those data follow a successful first segment in which the drug lowered blood potassium levels in patients with hyperkalemia and chronic kidney disease.

Relypsa, a 2008 Fierce 15 winner, plans to trade on the Nasdaq under "RLYP."

Like many of the biotechs lining up for a public debut, Relypsa hasn't reaped a shred of revenue, using an $80 million round from the likes of OrbiMed Advisors and New Leaf Venture Partners to fund Phase III and running through almost $200 million in investor cash since its 2007 foundation.

But, in the thick of what may well amount to a fondly remembered biotech bubble, Relypsa probably won't have much trouble convincing bullish investors of the potential rewards. Thirty-nine biotechs have gone public this year, many with long-shot plans to ever turn a profit and some with nary a piece of clinical data, making Relypsa's promising late-stage data and plan for an NDA look pretty safe.

Including Relypsa, at least 13 biotechs now have pending S-1s and plans to cash in on an IPO market that has poured nearly $3 billion into the coffers of drug developers and diagnostics outfits this year. And the trend is showing no signs of slowing down, as four companies filed S-1s last Friday alone with more trickling in each week.

- read Relypsa's amended S-1

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