Australia's Benitec prices Nasdaq IPO at $9.21 a share

Benitec Biopharma CEO Dr. Peter French

Australia-listed Benitec Biopharma has priced an initial public offering of 1.5 million American Depositary Shares at $9.21 each, putting it on track to raise $13.8 million, with the prospect of an additional 225,000 shares for overallotment.

The IPO, handled by Maxim Group as sole book-running manager, also includes warrants to purchase 500,000 American Depositary Shares at exercise price of $5.50 immediately and that expires on Aug. 21, 2020, the company said in a press release.

In June, the company announced plans to list on the Nasdaq in an initial public offering to raise as much as $70 million, according to a proxy notice to existing shareholders.

The company informed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of its intention to proceed with an IPO, saying it would use the funds for its working capital and general corporate purposes.

Benitec is developing gene therapies based on RNA interference with its main candidate called TT-034 aimed at treating hepatitis C by reducing its viral load. In April, Benitec said one of two study participants, provided the treatment in a Phase I/II trial, showed the desired reduction.

TT-034 is intended to target liver cells with short hairpin RNAs aimed at three specific parts of the hepatitis C genome.

In October 2005, Sigma-Aldrich ($SIAL) agreed to pay about $4.5 million for an equity stake and technology license with Benitec.

The American Depositary Shares started trading on Tuesday on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbols "BNTC" and "BNTCW," respectively. The offering is expected to close on or about Aug. 21, 2015.

- here's the release from Benitec