Chimerix, Omthera enter price ranges for expected biotech IPOs

Two biotech players offered price ranges for their hoped-for initial public offerings, Renaissance Capital reported. Chimerix, a Durham, NC-based developer of antivirals, aims to sell 6.1 million shares for between $13 and $15 per share in an effort to raise around $85 million. Omthera has priced its IPO shares in the $12 to $14 range, seeking to raise about $75 million to fuel efforts to advance an experimental omega-3 drug.

Both IPO deals come packaged with late-stage prospects. Omthera recently disclosed upbeat Phase III data for its fish oil drug Epanova en route to an expected filing for approval, potentially pitting the developer's drug against similar therapies from GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Amarin ($AMRN). Omthera is expected to price its IPO on April 10, according to Renaissance. Meantime, Chimerix has a lead candidate, CMX001, for preventing cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in late-stage development.

It's tough to predict the success of biotech IPOs, as few of the deals get done at the high end of proposed price ranges and many slip below expectations without much explanation. After pricing shares at $14 or the low end of its proposed range last month, hep C drug developer Enanta Pharmaceuticals ($ENTA) jumped out of the blocks in its public debut with shares now trading at around $20. On the other hand, antibiotics developer Tetraphase ($TTPH) last month priced below its proposed range, at $7 per share, and the stock has since traded flat.

Omthera plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol "OMTH," with bankers from BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Leerink Swann serving as joint bookrunners on the IPO. Chimerix has hired Morgan Stanley and Cowen & Company as joint bookrunners and plans to list shares on the Nasdaq under "CMRX."

- here's the item on Chimerix's price range
- and other on Omthera's

Special Report: Top 10 biotech IPOs of 2012