Elixir Postpones IPO

What was looking to be the first Boston-area IPO of the year has been put off. Cambridge, MA-based Elixir Pharmaceuticals, which is developing treatments for diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic diseases, has postponed its offering of five million shares, according to the Boulder, CO-based research firm Morningnotes.

Elixir, whose investors include MPM Capital, Oxford Bioscience Partners, and Physic Ventures, was due to begin trading today, and had previously set a target range of between $14 and $16 per share. But Morningnotes reported yesterday that a below-range pricing was likely. The research firm’s publisher, Ben Holmes, says that Elixir was having trouble finding interest in the market for its shares at a time when “there’s much gloom and doom on the tube.” Biotech offerings are without doubt the most risky ones, Holmes says. Elixir, he adds, is “in a very good spot in that metabolic diseases are very appealing targets for pharmaceutical companies, but these folks are very early in the game.” The company, founded in 1999, has drugs in Phase 3 clinical trials and a strategic relationship with Novartis, but no drugs on the market.

Holmes says Elixir gave no word on when the IPO might eventually go forward. “Postponed,” he explains, “could mean a day, a year, or forever.” Whatever the postponement means for Elixir, here’s hoping it doesn’t kick off a trend for the nine other New England firms poised to go public in ’08.

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