Omeros Teed Up for IPO Next Week, Seeking to Rake In More Than $80M

Xconomy Seattle — 

Seattle-based Omeros is on the docket to go public next week, and will attempt to become the first pure-play biotechnology company to take the plunge since February 2008, according to Renaissance Capital, an IPO analysis firm.

Omeros, which is developing an anti-inflammatory treatment to help people recover from arthroscopic knee surgery, has set a goal of selling 6.8 million shares of common stock at a price range of $10 to $12 apiece, as we reported here a couple weeks ago. Deutsche Bank and Wedbush PacGrow Life Sciences are the lead underwriters of the prospective deal, which could raise as much as $81.8 million for the company, if it can gin up demand for shares at the high end of its range.

If Omeros can pull this off, and end up trading under the ticker “OMER,” it will be the first true biotech company to do an IPO since Sunrise, FL-based Bioheart (OTC BB: BHRT) did it in February 2008. That comparison has to give any biotech investor the creeps, since BioHeart, a stem cell company, only traded a year on the NASDAQ and has seen its stock crash from an opening of $5.25 to $1.80 as of today on the bulletin board.

Biotech-related IPOs have looked a little better lately. Last month, Nashville, TN-based Cumberland Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CPIX), a specialty pharma company, went public at $17 and has traded down to $15.84 as of mid-day trading today. This week, a former unit of Bayer in Research Triangle Park, NC, that makes plasma-derived protein therapies, Talecris Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: TLCR), raised $950 million by selling shares at $19 apiece. Its stock is now up over $22.

Omeros clearly needs the cash from an IPO to pursue its goals, according to its updated prospectus. It has been around since 1994, and has spent $108.8 million of investors’ money through June 30. The company’s cash reserves dwindled from $20 million at the start of the year, to about $10.4 million at the last reported date, June 30. Assuming it can rake in the new IPO money, Omeros should have enough cash to operate at least through September 2011, according to the prospectus. But without that money, Omeros will need to “significantly modify our operational plans for us to continue as a going concern,” the company stated.