Omeros Raises $68.2M in Washington’s First IPO in Two Years

Xconomy Seattle — 

Omeros, the Seattle biotech company developing a treatment to improve recovery from knee surgery, completed its initial public offering late last night in the state’s first IPO in more than two years.

The company sold 6.82 million shares to investors at $10 apiece, for total proceeds of $68.2 million. The underwriters of the offering, led by Deutsche Bank and Wedbush PacGrow Life Sciences, will have options to buy an additional 1.02 million shares. Trading is expected to start today under a new ticker (NASDAQ: OMER).

Omeros is the first tech company from Washington state to go public since Kirkland, WA-based Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR) did it in March 2007. The new cash infusion for Omeros is essential for it to pursue its goals, according to a recent prospectus. The company has been around since 1994, and has accumulated a deficit $108.8 million from its beginning 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. By adding 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 would have needed to “significantly modify our operational plans for us to continue as a going concern,” the company stated.

Omeros also overcame some unusually challenging circumstances in its quest to go public. The company is facing a lawsuit from former chief financial officer Richard J. Klein, who accused Omeros of wrongfully terminating him. Klein says he was fired after he filed a whistleblower report on the company for filing false time records on grant work performed for the National Institutes of Health. The company, in its legal response, admits it made errors in timekeeping, but says that it reported them to the NIH, and never overbilled the government; the company also says the NIH accepted the results of an internal investigation. Klein’s suit is still ongoing in U.S. District Court.