Cerulean stumbles with IPO as investors fret over biotech stocks

Adamas Pharmaceuticals ($ADMS) had to price its IPO at the low end of the range today, then saw the stock price surge in early trading. But the lingering damage of a failed Phase IIb study could be seen when Cerulean ($CERU) stumbled onto the IPO stage after cutting its share price to a mere $7, well below the $11 to $13 range that had been hoped for.

Cerulean had set a high bar for itself in trying to demonstrate that its drug--CRLX101, a nanotech formulation that combines camptothecin with its polymers for targeted delivery to leaky tumor vessels--could extend the survival rate of patients. The drug failed that primary endpoint, though the Cambridge, MA-based biotech still vows that the drug has plenty of potential.

Emeryville, CA-based Adamas, meanwhile, has been developing therapies for hard targets like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The biotech made headlines in the fall of 2012 after it struck a $160 million deal--$65 million up front--with Forest Labs ($FRX) to develop a fixed-dose combination of Namenda XR and donepezil HCl for dementia. And it followed up with positive data for ADS-5102, its extended-release version of amantadine for Parkinson's patients. The biotech raised $48 million from the sale of 3 million shares. 

The mixed results today will do little to soothe investors' jitters. The biotech index has been hit hard in recent weeks, leading to considerable fretting over whether the biotech IPO window is beginning to close. That jury is apparently still out, but dozens of biotechs have made the leap into the public market over the past 18 months in an unprecedented burst of IPOs that raised billions for the industry.

For now at least, the great IPO game continues.

- here's the story on Cerulean
- here's the release on Adamas