Targanta Therapeutics Sets IPO Terms—Could Make for Nice Comeback for Firm’s CEO

Targanta Therapeutics, a Cambridge biopharmaceutical company focused on developing antibiotics to combat serious infections, today set the terms of its impending IPO, announcing plans to sell 5.75 million shares of common stock at between $12 and $14 a share. In the mid-range of the pricing, after commissions, discounts, and other expenses, the company said it expects to realize net proceeds of about $68 million.

Targanta acquired the rights to its lead product, oritavancin, in 2005. According to its SEC filing, the company believes it has enough data to support FDA approval of the drug for its first indication (complicated skin infections), and hopes that approval will come in late 2008.

A successful Targanta IPO would herald a great comeback for its CEO Mark Leuchtenberger, who just over a year ago (in June 2006) announced the demise of his previous company, Cambridge-based Therion Biologics, after its two lead products—both cancer vaccines—failed to meet expectations in clinical trials. Therion, where Leuchtenberger served as President and CEO, was a high-flyer that took in more than $120 million in three rounds of financing, much of it from German billionaire Hans-Werner Hector, a co-founder of the software firm SAP. After the disappointing trials, Hector cut off a $50 million line of credit he had extended to the company, according to Mass High Tech.

Leuchtenberger, who headed the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council search committee that recently tapped Robert Coughlin as the new MBC president, has said in the past that he learned a painful lesson with Therion—never to be so dependent on one source of financing. If successful, the IPO, coupled with a $70 million round of venture financing earlier in the year, should help with that.

Bob is Xconomy's founder and chairman. You can email him at bbuderi@xconomy.com. Follow @bbuderi

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