Jaguar postpones IPO amid rocky market for biotech and animal health offerings

Just days after scaling back its IPO target by 26%, Silicon Valley's Jaguar Animal Health postponed the public offering it had originally planned for Wednesday. The company, which is developing gastrointestinal products for pets and livestock, was founded in 2013 and planned to list under the symbol "JAGX."

Lisa Conte

Back in August, Jaguar and its executive team led by CEO Lisa Conte seemed optimistic, filing to raise $70 million to advance its pipeline of eight drug candidates. Then, last week, Jaguar amended its S-1, cutting the amount it hoped to raise to $51.75 million.

The postponement isn't altogether surprising. Jaguar may have been discouraged by the performance of Parnell Pharmaceuticals ($PARN), an animal health company that has seen its shares drop 51% since its June IPO. Right about the time Jaguar filed for its IPO, shares of Kindred Biosciences ($KIN) fell 28% on disappointing clinical trial results for its drug to treat osteoarthritis in dogs.

More broadly, biotech companies are finding the path to the Street bumpy of late. Menlo Park-based Virobay pulled its IPO plans late last week, the Silicon Valley Business Journal points out. It had hoped to raise $50 million. Two other Silicon Valley biotechs, Nevro and Coherus Biosciences, are still expected to debut on the Street this week.

Oddly enough, investors may have more of an appetite for companies that serve pampered pets. New Jersey-based premium pet food maker Freshpet raised its IPO target more than 67% last week to $167.7 million. Pet health insurer Trupanion ($TRUP) went public this summer at $10 a share, raising a whopping $71 million, before seeing its shares fall to $6.50.

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