GlobeImmune pulls plug on $75M IPO despite still-bubbling market

After repeated delays, Colorado immunotherapy developer GlobeImmune has finally called it quits on plans to raise up to $74.8 million in an IPO, citing poor market conditions amid a prolonged boom in biotech debuts.

In its latest S-1 draft, filed in September 2012, GlobeImmune planned to offer 5 million shares at between $11 and $13 apiece, hoping to raise enough cash to advance one of its preclinical infectious disease candidates through Phase II and pay for a mid-stage trial of cancer vaccine GI-4000 in pancreatic cancer. GlobeImmune's pipeline revolves around its development platform, Tarmogen--short for targeted molecular immunogens--and the company's programs have attracted some big-name attention, with Gilead ($GILD) funding early development of its hepatitis B vaccine and Celgene ($CELG) joining in for GI-4000.

Now, in a withdrawal of registration statement filed with the SEC this week, GlobeImmune is taking its name out of the IPO running, saying the "terms currently obtainable in the public marketplace are not sufficiently attractive" to go forward.

Like many biotechs on the hunt for financing, GlobeImmune has no products on the market, and the company has run up net losses of around $50 million since 2009. But, in the best year for biotech IPOs since 2000, other money-losing drug developers with high-risk programs have had little trouble finding faithful investors and cashing out on the Street. What went wrong for GlobeImmune--which is immersed in the en vogue field of cancer immunotherapies--remains unclear, and the company didn't respond to a request for comment Thursday.

GlobeImmune, a member of the 2008 Fierce 15, has raised about $119 million from the likes of Morgenthaler Ventures, Biogen Idec ($BIIB) and Celgene ($CELG).

As of this week, 40 biotech companies have made successful Wall Street debuts this year, raking in about $3 billion from giddy investors suddenly unafraid of the risks associated with drug development, and at least 14 more companies are waiting with S-1s in the wings, angling to add another few hundred million to that total.

- read the registration withdrawal
- check out GlobeImmune's latest S-1

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