Corium pulls off a $52M IPO to fund its needle-free pipeline

Menlo Park, CA's Corium International ($CORI) pocketed $52 million in an IPO to match established drugs with convenient delivery platforms, scoring the quarter's first Wall Street debut as the industry hopes an early-year bull market can survive into spring.

Corium sold off 6.5 million shares at a below-the-range $8 each, upping its offering by about 18% in order to clear $52 million. The company makes its money by reformulating large-molecule treatments to be delivered through the skin without the need for needles.

Through agreements with Teva ($TEVA) and Par Pharmaceutical, Corium already has two drugs on the market, but the company's IPO haul will largely go toward its unpartnered MicroCor hPTH, a patch-administered version of Eli Lilly's ($LLY) osteoperosis treatment Forteo, and Corplex Tamsulosin, a transdermal formulation of Boehringer Ingelheim's prostate drug Flomax. Corium plans to get both into Phase II trials in the next year.

Beyond its proprietary products, Corium has teamed up with Agile Therapeutics on AG200-15, a Phase III hormonal contraceptive patch, and the company is working with Teva on treatments for motion sickness and urology, expecting to win FDA approval this year.

Corium's successful offering marks the first biotech IPO of the second quarter, following a remarkable Q1 in which 29 life sciences companies raised a combined $2.1 billion on the public markets. A growing list of would-be entrants has already queued up for the second quarter, led by Alder Biopharmaceuticals, Lumena Pharmaceuticals and Cerulean Pharma, looking to raise roughly $500 million in sum.

However, investor skittishness over the sustainability of biotech's run has chipped away at the industry's Nasdaq index over the past few weeks, spurred by drug pricing concerns for high-flyers like Gilead Sciences ($GILD) and trickling down to weaken the shares of small drugmakers. As has been the case all along, any bout of market shakiness has led to renewed fears that biotech's recent success is a bubble just waiting to burst, and if the outlook stays grim, the next class of IPO hopefuls may find itself entering an unfavorable market.

- read Corium's announcement