Radius Health Yanks IPO, Cites Market Conditions

5/9/14Follow @benthefidler

For the second time in two years, Radius Health is taking itself out of the IPO queue.

The Cambridge, MA-based company has postponed its IPO, citing “poor market conditions,” according to IPO research firm Renaissance Capital. Radius had been looking to raise about $75 million and list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “RDUS.”

The biotech IPO market was sizzling hot in 2013 and remained that way only months ago. In January, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: DRNA) priced ahead of its range and immediately tripled in value, symbolizing the fervor for biotech. Since that time, however, the market has cooled for biotech. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index is down considerably from earlier in the year, and several biotechs of late—including Alder Biopharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALDR) and Cerulean Pharma (NASDAQ: CERU)—have had to cut prices and boost share counts just to get out.

Radius has become the latest victim. The company was formed in 2003 and has raised more than $250 million from private investors to develop an injectable osteoporosis drug called abaloparatide to pit against Eli Lilly’s teriparatide (Forteo). Radius was looking to tap the public markets to help push that drug through a big, 2,400-patient Phase III trial. That study is expected to produce top-line data later this year.

Radius’s plan has been to develop that drug while creating a skin patch version of the drug, a clear differentiator to current therapies.

The company, however, has been through a major shakeup over the past year. It changed CEOs three times over the course of about a month in late 2013. Radius hasn’t explained the reasons for the change, but it appears to have been tied to the trajectory of the skin patch. Radius had initially expected to file a new drug application for the patch in 2017, but, as Xconomy reported in December, it pushed its timeline back by about two years.

Radius said in January that a mid-stage study of the patch, abaloparatide-TD, was successful in that it provided proof of concept of the delivery of the system. But its prospectus indicated that the company still has to do “additional formulation development work,” so that it can achieve efficacy “comparable to that of abaloparatide” and then advance “an optimized abaloparatide-TD product in additional clinical studies and to a Phase 3 bridging study.”

This is the second time Radius has been on the verge of trading on Nasdaq before stepping back. Though Radius already reports publicly, having merged with an unlisted shell company in 2011, it filed for an IPO in February 2012. The company had to pull the offering nine months later, however. Former CEO Michael Wyzga told Xcomony last year that Radius was set to price that offering before Superstorm Sandy barreled through New York City and shut down the financial markets for days. Rather than price in the middle of pre- and post-election market turmoil, Radius withdrew the IPO altogether.

Ben Fidler is Xconomy's Deputy Biotechnology Editor. You can e-mail him at bfidler@xconomy.com Follow @benthefidler

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