Tiny Recro pulls off a $30M IPO to bankroll its pain drugs

Recro Pharma ($REPH) had to dial down its asking price and amp up its offering, but the Malvern, PA, biotech managed to go public at last, grossing $30 million to fund its pipeline of pain treatments.

The company sold off 3.8 million shares at $8 each, below its previously disclosed range of $10 to $12, and it's in line for another $4.5 million or so if its underwriters choose to exercise their options.

With the cash, the 5-person drug developer plans to focus on Dex-IN, an intranasal formulation of the nonopioid pain treatment dexmedetomidine. The drug performed well in a Phase I study on patients with chronic lower back pain, according to the company, and Recro is gearing up for a Phase IIb trial targeting postoperative pain, figuring its IPO raise will get the drug all the way through to manufacturing. Beyond Dex-IN, Recro is developing a sublingual version of the same active ingredient plus fadolmidine, another alpha-2 agonist with potential in neuropathic pain.

Recro's Wall Street debut has been in the works since October, marked by delays during a brief fall swoon for biotech IPOs before finally coming through toward the end of what has been a first-quarter rush of offerings.

Since January, 19 life sciences companies have pulled off successful market debuts, and despite early-year concerns of a burst-ready bubble, the returns have been largely positive. Class leaders Dicerna ($DRNA) and Ultragenyx ($RARE) have each more than doubled their share values since going public in January, while contemporaries Auspex ($ASPX) and Revance Therapeutics ($RVNC) have soared on February offerings. And now Versartis, Akebia Therapeutics and Israeli medical device outfit Lumenis are looking to get out before the quarter ends.

- read Recro's release

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