Ritter Takes a Run at Public Markers With $20M IPO

Published: Jun 24, 2015

Ritter Takes a Run at Public Markers With $20M IPO
June 24, 2015
By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Sr. Editor

Los Angeles-based Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held pharmaceutical company focused on gastrointestinal disorders, has filed for an initial public offering of $20 million.

It opened flat in Wednesday trading at $5 after pricing its IPO of 4,000,000 shares of its common stock at a price to the public of $5 per share. Ritter said it would use the proceeds to advance its lead candidate, RP-G28, which is being developed for the treatment of lactose intolerance.

The company made the announcement via official statement and said it had filed the necessary S-1 paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Aegis Capital Corp. will be the sole bookrunner on the deal, while Chardan Capital Markets and Barrington Research will act as co-managers.

Ritter joins a rash of other companies that have filed to go public this week, including Benitec Biopharma , Conkwest, Seres Therapeutics, Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Lantheus Medical Imaging.

All of them are entering the market at an interesting time. Data from the Exit Poll report by Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association on April 6 shows that initial public offerings dropped 54 percent during the first quarter of 2015, with a 58 percent decrease in dollars invested in the 17 offerings, 13 of which were life sciences IPOs.

Overall, the 17 venture-backed IPOs raised $1.4 billion during the first quarter of 2015, with life sciences IPOs representing 76 percent of total listings in the first quarter.

“This quarter marked the first quarter to see less than 20 venture-backed IPOs since the first quarter of 2013,” said the report.

“For the first quarter of 2015, 86 venture-backed M&A deals were reported, 16 of which had an aggregate deal value of $2.1 billion. Venture-backed M&A activity during the quarter fell to its lowest levels, by number of deals and disclosed value, since the first quarter of 2013.”

“With such a blistering pace for venture-backed exit activity in 2014, it was only a matter of time before we saw a drop activity. Despite the decline in venture-backed IPOs for the quarter, a lot of promising young companies made their debut on the public markets with many more waiting in the wings,” said Bobby Franklin, president and chief executive of NVCA.

There were also a few notable pull-outs from companies that decided to wait until the market was at a higher point, a common tactic used by corporate boards to make sure their IPO gets the maximum amount of value possible. Among those were Koltan Pharmaceuticals and Israeli company PolyPid Ltd., which in a terse statement the Petach Tikva, Israel-based firm said it would withdraw its plans for the $20 million IPO, which had been priced at a range of $10 to $12 a share.

There had been rumors that a recent selloff in the biotech sector, which has dropped 7 percent the last week in March, and thus would have value the company at a lower amount, pushed PolyPid to pull its IPO. But Asaf Bar, chief business officer, told the Wall Street Journal other factors were in play.

“We were very confident with our ability to go public even with the market conditions,” he said. Bar added the company will wait for its pipeline milestones in the second half of 2015 before attempting another IPO.

Cheerleaders for the industry also remained sanguine about the near halving of the offerings on tap last quarter, saying that with investment happening at such a rapid and unprecedented clip in 2015, some pullback was inevitable—though likely not permanent.

“With 54 venture-backed companies having already filed publicly for IPOs and many more confidential registrations already in place, we are optimistic that the pace for venture-backed exits will pick up steam as the year moves ahead, creating opportunities for everyday investors to be shareholders of innovation,” said Franklin.

As Rumors Swirl About GlaxoSmithKline Bid, Who Could Suitors Be?
Rumors are swirling that Swiss-based Roche and U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson are eying the U.K. company for approximately $143 billion. But Roche and J&J aren’t the only companies though who have been thought could go after the elephant that is Glaxo.

Last month there was buzz that Pfizer Inc. was considering acquiring Glaxo, a year after it failed to acquire AstraZeneca PLC . Just this month over a third of respondents in a poll conducted by BioSpace believe that AstraZeneca PLC could be in the running to acquire struggling GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

So BioSpace wants to ask our readers again what they predict for this new dealmaking bonanza. Will Glaxo go—and if so, to whom?

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