Successful Biotech IPOs

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted October 15, 2012

Two biotech firms went public last Thursday. Both Kythera Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: KYTH) and Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ICPT) had successful IPOs, though the two cases were in some ways outliers within the biotech industry.

Kythera’s shares rose 24 percent in its first day of trading. The company’s big attractor is ATX-101, an injectable drug in late-stage trials for cosmetic medical treatment of submental fat within the notorious “double chin.”

It isn’t a cure for cancer, sure, but it does provide an alternative to surgery in a market for aesthetic treatments that’s radically expanding. Bayer (ETR: BAYN) is partnering with Kythera on this project, and the data from U.S. and Canadian trials is scheduled to be released in mid-2013.

Intercept’s shares rose 29 percent on Thurday, and its lead program targets biliary cirrhosis—putting Intercept’s product in an area under sharp focus by both pharma and regulatory folks.

The company has something called obeticholic acid, a product that protects the liver against the aforementioned biliary cirrhosis and is currently in Phase III trials. French pharma group Servier is pairing up with Intercept on earlier stage programs, while Japan’s Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma (TYO: 4506) is developing the drug for the Japanese and Chinese markets.

Both companies began trading at the high ends of their price ranges.

The good news from these two biotech IPOs may help offset some less savory news recently from the same sector; last week, Regulus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RGLS) reduced both share prices and offering sizes for its IPO.

GlobeImmune and Rib-X Pharmaceuticals have delayed their scheduled IPOs, and several privately-owned biotechs have faced difficulties in pulling off a smooth IPO.

Kythera was up 2.41% on Monday morning, and Intercept was up 1%.

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