Nexvet plans $60M IPO to advance pipeline of pet therapeutics

After a banner year for animal health IPOs, Dublin-based Nexvet Biopharma says it's next in line, filing with the SEC to raise $60 million in an initial public offering. The company plans to list its shares on Nasdaq under the symbol NVET.

According to Nexvet's S-1 filing, Nexvet intends to use the proceeds from the IPO to further develop its three lead product candidates. The most advanced of those candidates 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 CEO Mark Heffernan

NV-01 is the first drug to emerge from Nexvet's proprietary technology platform, called PETization, which it uses to rapidly create species-specific therapeutic antibodies. Nexvet CEO Mark Heffernan told FierceAnimalHealth in October that in early trials, NV-01 offered significant benefits over daily doses of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, which can cause side effects such as stomach bleeding and ulcers. In December, Nexvet signed a 10-year collaboration agreement with France's Virbac, which will help develop and market the drug outside of the U.S. and Canada.

The company intends to use PETization to advance one new product candidate per year into development, starting in the latter half of 2015, according to the S-1. The next two products in line for development are NV-02 to treat pain associated with degenerative joint disease in cats and NV-08 for atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory conditions in dogs.

In the year ended in June 2013, Nexvet recorded a net loss of $3 million on revenues of $329,000, 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.

Just how Nexvet will be received on Wall Street is an open question, however, seeing as the animal health industry has lost some of its luster on Wall Street in recent months. Among the disappointments of 2014 were Parnell Pharmaceuticals ($PARN), which saw its stock lose half its value in its first six months of trading. Kindred Biosciences ($KIN) fell precipitously after its canine osteoarthritis drug candidate failed in clinical trials, and at $7.37 per share is now trading way off its one-year high of nearly $27. And in November, Jaguar Animal Health postponed its IPO after slashing the amount it hoped to raise from $70 million to $51.75 million.

- access Nexvet's S-1 here