Bay Area Biotech Firm Tobira Therapeutics Inc. Tables $74 Million IPO

Published: Aug 11, 2014

Bay Area Biotech Firm Tobira Therapeutics Inc. Tables $74 Million IPO Bay Area Biotech Firm Tobira Therapeutics Inc. Tables $74 Million IPO

August 8, 2014
By Jessica Wilson, Breaking News Staff

Tobira Therapeutics Inc. , a South San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company, has decided not to move forward with an Initial Public Offering. The company had planned to go public in July, but decided to postpone the offering. It was expected the company would proceed with the IPO this week. However, according to the IPO investment firm Renaissance Capital, Tobira, citing “market conditions,” has abandoned this plan.

Led by Dr. Laurent Fisher, Tobira Therapeutics develops immunotherapy treatments for infectious diseases, specifically HIV and a liver disease known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

In July, Fisher told Silicon Valley Business Journal that Tobira planned to sell 4.6 million shares for between $12 and $14 to raise $74 million. The primary purpose of the IPO would have been to finance the company’s Phase II clinical trial of cenicriviroc, or CVC, which targets NASH. In addition, Tobira’s therapy to treat HIV type 1 (CVC + 3TC) is on deck for a Phase III trial once the company finds a partner. The company’s drug pipeline also includes treatments for fibrosis and inflammation—though these are in the pre-clinical stages.

NASH considered a “silent” liver disease, presents with symptoms similar to the more well-known alcoholic liver disease; however, NASH occurs in people who drink little to no alcohol. The effects of NASH range from discomfort to cirrhosis, or permanent liver damage. The NIH has said that obesity could cause the condition. Because of the growing rate of obesity, Tobira believes CVC is positioned to treat a large and growing market with little competition. Currently, no approved pharmaceutical treatments for NASH exist.

After an upsurge in IPOs among life science companies kicked off 2014, the trend had declined until the end of the second quarter. Late June saw an uptick in interest among biotech firms, one of which was Tobira. The tide is turning, though, as several biotech companies have postponed planned IPOs. In addition to Tobira, two other companies were expected to go public this past week but did not: Fremont, CA-based Zosano Pharma and Brisbane, CA-based Atra Biotherapeutics. Last month, Emeryville, CA-based KineMed Inc. shelved its plan to go public.

The company had planned to list on the NASDAQ under the symbol TBRA. The underwriters, BMO Capital Markets, JMP Securities and Oppenheimer, were set to be the joint bookrunners on the deal.

Since Tobira’s founding in 2006, the company has received $55 million from its backers: Domain Associates, Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Montreux Equity Partners, Novo A/S and Canaan Partners.

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