Danish biotech Egalet pitches $69M IPO on Nasdaq

A Danish biotech company with a foothold in the U.S. is making a bid to cash in on the big IPO boom on Nasdaq. Egalet, which has been developing abuse-resistant opioid pain pills, has outlined plans to raise $69 million from an initial offering. That cash primarily would be used to develop a couple of late-stage programs nearing the clinic.

Technically, Egalet is based in Malvern, PA, where it has a 6-month lease on a less-than-palatial 255-square-foot "headquarters." Its main facilities are near Copenhagen, though, where it has a lab and administrative office support for its R&D work. While a string of U.S. biotechs has been raking in cash from the sudden burst of IPOs this year, the Europeans have largely been shut out, with some turning to U.S. investors as the only big group of buyers for biotech IPO these days. The Dutch biotech Prosensa, for example, went public on Nasdaq earlier in the year.

Egalet hopes to begin trading under the "EGLT" symbol.

Egalet has been working on new delivery technology that uses a formulation of oral morphine in a matrix encased in a shell. Body fluids break down the shell and then start to degrade the matrix, triggering a steady delivery of drug for pain relief rather than the sudden high that drug abusers got when they were able to snort or inject OxyContin. Purdue Pharma later developed an abuse-resistant version, which Egalet thinks it can improve on.

The biotech has an early-stage program underway for its lead pain therapy and believes it can quickly launch pivotal trials to establish bioequivalence with MS-Contin, with an NDA on the way to the FDA at the end of next year. Its next step will be to develop a new-and-improved pain therapy to the FDA in 2016.

Just a few weeks ago Egalet lined up a $10 million injection of cash, with Index Ventures leading a round that includes a second $10 million payday--provided the biotech meets certain milestones. The company has already drawn earlier support from Atlas Venture, CLS Capital, Omega Funds and Sunstone Capital.

- here's the S-1

Special Reports: Foundation Medicine, Ophthotech go gangbusters in 2013 biotech IPO revival | 2012 Fierce 15 - Prosensa