Catabasis pulls off a $60M IPO as biotech's Wall Street window stays open

Catabasis ($CATB), at work on treatments for muscular dystrophy and high cholesterol, raised $60 million in an IPO, cashing in on investors' continued enthusiasm for bets on biotech companies.

The Cambridge, MA, company priced 5 million shares at $12 each, coming in below its previously expected range of $13 to $15 per share. Catabasis has set aside another 750,000 million shares for its underwriters to cover overallotments, setting the stage for a maximum IPO value of nearly $69 million.

With the new cash, Catabasis plans to hit the gas on its lead candidates, developed using the company's proprietary linking technology that allows it to hit multiple targets with one treatment.

CAT-1004, a treatment for the rare Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), demonstrated promise in a Phase I, the company said, and Catabasis kicked off enrollment in a two-part Phase I/II trial last week. Unlike the genetically targeted DMD therapies from Sarepta Therapeutics ($SRPT) and BioMarin ($BMRN), CAT-1004 is an oral candidate designed to treat all forms of the disease by blocking a protein related to muscle degeneration.

And CAT-2054, which uses the same linking technology to fuse two fatty acids, is an oral treatment for high cholesterol that Catabasis expects to get into Phase IIa development in the fourth quarter. The company is also working on treatments for high triglycerides, Friedreich's ataxia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Catabasis' IPO comes amid a big week for biotech hopefuls. On the same day, medical device outfit Glaukos raised $108 million to support its in-eye stent, and tiny Ritter Pharmaceuticals raised $20 million on Wednesday to bankroll its work in food allergies.

Meanwhile, the constant stream of biotech IPOs has 2015 on pace to beat out last year's record haul. More than 30 drug developers have gone public in the first half, and the third-quarter queue is already filling up, with Australia's Benitec Biopharma filing to raise $70 million to support its work in gene therapies for hepatitis C while ADHD drug developer Neos Therapeutics is looking for $69 million and Patrick Soon-Shiong's Conkwest is angling for a $173 million IPO.

- read the statement (PDF)