Two more biotechs roll the IPO dice as the market sputters

Even though the biotech IPO market has been sputtering under the weight of a wave of new offerings and some heightened skepticism of what's being put in front of investors these days, two more biotechs have laid out plans to raise a total of some $150 million.

Affimed Therapeutics is out to raise $75 million in an IPO as it pursues the early-stage development of bispecific antibodies which tether T-cells or natural killer cells to cancer cells on a kind of search-and-destroy mission. The biotech is now in Phase I with an anti-CD30-positive explosive--AFM13--for Hodgkin's lymphoma with a separate clinical program underway for an anti-CD19 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma drug.

The Heidelberg, Germany-based biotech set up a subsidiary last year with the help of MPM Capital and Aeris Capital in San Francisco called Amphivena, which is targeting hematological malignancies. J&J's Innovation group set up an option to buy the company if the work pans out as planned.

Affimed, a spinoff of the German Cancer Research Center, has plans to go all the way in the field, eventually looking to set up a commercialization arm to sell its cancer products.  And the biotech operates AbCheck, a subsidiary that has worked on screening projects for Eli Lilly ($LLY) and currently works with Daiichi Sankyo and Pierre Fabry.

GTC Therapeutics never was able to make a profit on ATryn--the world's first therapeutic made from genetically engineered, or transgenic, goats--following the drug's approval to prevent blood clots for rare cases of hereditary antithrombin deficiency back in 2009. Renamed rEVO Biologics in early 2013, the Framingham, MA-based biotech recently unveiled plans for a late-stage test of ATryn for preeclampsia, hoping that a new approval for extending pregnancies would vastly increase the therapy's market potential.

Now rEVO is out to raise close to $75 million in an IPO designed to fund that study and hoped-for market expansion. "We estimate that 2013 sales of all antithrombin products totaled approximately $50 million in the United States and we believe the market can be much larger if we can expand ATryn's FDA-approved label to include additional indications such as the management of preeclampsia," says the S-1. "Further, we plan to study ATryn for other acquired antithrombin deficiencies, such as heparin resistance, bleeding and thrombosis during extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO, burns, trauma, disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC, sepsis and transplantation."

There's no shortage of new offerings. A group of 5 biotechs were expected to float last week, but only one made it through after taking a deep discount on its price. Nevertheless, high-profile biotechs like Zafgen have made their debuts recently with bells ringing and share prices soaring. That's enough positive evidence--for now--to inspire a new wave of IPOs as biotech stock prices in general recover from a major correction earlier this year. 

- here's the F-1 on Affimed
- here's the S-1 on rEVO