Radius Health, which is testing injectable and microneedle patch versions of its lead osteoporosis drug, filed plans Feb. 6 to dive into the public markets. The IPO is ambitious for life sciences companies in today's brutal economic climate: Plans call for raising as much as $86 million.
The Cambridge, MA-based biotech drug developer has raised an astounding amount of money since its launch--at least $198 million to date--according to the Boston Business Journal's coverage of the IPO. Radius is furthest along with BA058, a parathyroid hormone-related protein/bone-building drug that has shown promise in early clinical trials. So far, patients have demonstrated a low risk of developing hypercalcemia, a harmful effect caused by some current treatments, Xconomy notes.
Radius' injectable, subcutaneous version of BA058 has advanced well into Phase III clinical trials. A microneedle transdermal patch version, designed to be more convenient than an injection, passed the Phase I trial milestone and is progressing to Phase II. Patients wear the patch for a short period of time, and the drug releases rapidly through the skin. Radius is developing this version with 3M ($MMM), according to Xconomy, which explains that 3M's microneedle tech delivers a full drug dose in 15 minutes using 360 microscopic needles. Radius believes that the drug, in-licensed from Ipsen, could offer a significant new alternative to treat osteoporosis.
Launching IPOs for biotechs not generating revenue yet was risky even in good times. In today's hyper-cautious investor market, it's not much different than jumping off a cliff without a parachute. The BBJ reports that the company booked a $42.4 million net loss in 2011. But Radius also gained a new CEO in recent months with experience in building biotechs into revenue generators--former Genzyme CFO Michael Wyzga. As the BBJ points out, he was at Genzyme when Sanofi ($SNY) bought the company in April, arguably at its peak.
Once public, Radius will be listed on Nasdaq and use the symbol "RDUS," according to the article. UBS Investment Bank and Leerink Swann will underwrite the offering, which will be co-managed by Cowen and Company and Rodman & Renshaw.
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