Last year ended on a modestly upbeat note for biotech investors after a string of fairly successful IPOs in the life sciences industry allowed some venture groups to manage an exit after several years of lean pickings on the stock market. Now the industry will be paying keen attention to the first round of biotech IPOs in 2013 to see if the market window is finally opening up to money-losing drug developers. And investors' appetite will be tested early on by a classic developer with plenty of risk and losses to offer.
KaloBios has priced its long-anticipated IPO at $12 to $14 a share, looking to reap up to $62 million on the high end. That's not a huge amount by IPO standards, but KaloBios is still in Phase II with its lead assets--"new and improved" antibodies for respiratory disease and cancer. KaloBios CEO David Pritchard has been evangelizing the biotech's work on antibodies for several years, boasting that its better engineered brands that bind to targets better make a natural second-gen approach to the field.
"We believe that antibodies produced with our Humaneered technology offer important clinical and economic advantages over antibodies generated by other methods, including enhanced binding activity to target epitopes and minimal immunogenicity (undesired immune response), making our antibodies potentially more suitable for chronic treatment," says KaloBios in its S1 filing with the SEC. The San Francisco Business Times reported on the IPO late last week.
Whether KaloBios can make a good enough case to sell 3.8 million shares in its range, avoiding the hair cut that became standard after the market crisis of 2008, is yet to be seen. A success here, though, would likely inspire more such IPOs. And there are a number of drug developers who would love to do it.
MPM, Sofinnova Ventures of Menlo Park, CA, and Alloy Ventures are KaloBios' top three shareholders. The company was picked as a Fierce 15 company back in 2009 and is partnered with Sanofi.