Bullish biotechs shoot for $400M in another big week for IPOs

After Sage Therapeutics ($SAGE) staged a stellar debut on Friday, 6 more drug developers are expected to price IPOs this week, looking to buck some bearish trends in biotech and raise about $400 million combined.

Atara Biotherapeutics, Immune Design, Ocular Therapeutix, Innocoll, Pfenex and Mapi-Pharma are all slated to hit Wall Street this week, according to IPO research outfit Renaissance Capital, potentially relieving an IPO backlog that includes more than 40 drugmakers queueing up to cash out.

Leading the week's class is Atara, an Amgen ($AMGN) spinoff hoping to move 5 million shares at between $14 and $16 apiece, grossing $75 million at midpoint to support its programs in kidney disease and oncology. Atara's most advanced drug is a Phase II peptide-antibody combo that inhibits myostatin in order to fight protein energy wasting, an inflammatory ailment that afflicts patients with end-stage renal disease. The biotech also has two early stage assets targeting ovarian cancer and cancer-related weight loss.

Immune Design, seeking $60 million, is at work on three Phase I immunotherapies for cancer, while Ireland's Innocoll is out for $75 million to fund midstage work on a line of bioresorbable collagen products. Ocular Therapeutix is looking for $75 million to help market an eye gel used after cataract surgeries, while biosimilar outfit Pfenex seeks $65 million and Mapi-Pharma swings for $37 million to develop extended-release formulations of approved treatments.

Meanwhile, the once-dependable market for biotech IPOs has taken a boom-and-bust turn. After a record-setting first quarter brought in $2.1 billion in initial offerings, the markets have tightened up on drug developers, forcing many hopefuls to delay, discount or call off their debuts.

But a few promising drug developers have been able to cut through the din and pull off major IPO successes, including Sage and its up-sized $90 million haul; Kite Pharma ($KITE) and its $128 million debut; and Zafgen ($ZAFG), which raked in $96 million to support its obesity treatment.

Each new entrant hopes to tend toward the exception, not the rule, and those high-profile victories are inspiring still more biotechs to file S-1s in hopes of a lucrative debut. This week, ear disease biotech Avalanche Biotechnologies set terms for a $76 million IPO, while Tobira Therapeutics laid out plans for a $60 million raise and Auris Medical detailed a $76 million IPO of its own.

- here's Renaissance's calendar