Nexvet Biopharma sees sluggish market reception following IPO

A day after going public, shares of Nexvet Biopharma ($NVET) continued to trade lower than its debut price. In midday trading Friday, shares traded to just over $8.89 per share after closing its first trading session Thursday at $8.88.

The Dublin-based maker of drugs for animals opened its first day of trading at $9.12 after pricing 4 million ordinary shares to the public at $10 per share, which was below the expected range of $13 to $16. Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Cowen and Company acted as joint lead book-running managers for the offering with Piper Jaffray and JMP Securities as the co-managers.

Thursday was a generally disappointing day for investors in biotech stocks with Immunomedics ($IMMU), BIND Therapeutics ($BIND) and Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals ($RCPI) all seeing declines of between 5% and 17%.

Nexvet has said it will use the nearly $40 million raised with its IPO to continue development of its three lead product candidates. The most advanced of those is NV-01, a monoclonal antibody to treat osteoarthritis in dogs. In October, Nexvet started a pivotal study of the drug, which is being tried in 200 dogs in the U.S. and Europe. The company expects to collect data by the end of the year and file for approval shortly after that.

Nexvet recorded a net loss of $3 million on revenues of $329,000 for the year ended June 2013, most of which came from licensing and collaboration deals. The company has generated significant excitement in the venture capital world, most recently raising $31.5 million in an oversubscribed Series B financing last spring.

Still, it appears Wall Street interest for animal health companies that began to wane in 2014 continues to wither so far this year. In 2014, Parnell Pharmaceuticals ($PARN) saw its stock lose half its value in its first 6 months of trading, and Kindred Biosciences ($KIN) stock tumbled after its canine osteoarthritis drug candidate failed in clinical trials, trading as low $5.98 per share after hitting a one-year high of $26.98. And in November, Jaguar Animal Health postponed its IPO after slashing the amount it hoped to raise from $70 million to $51.75 million.

- see LAW360's take (reg. req.)
- read Nexvet's S-1 here