Talecris Biotherapeutics Holdings Corp., which was formed two years ago to cultivate the plasma-derived therapeutics business acquired from Bayer HealthCare LLC, is taking aim at the public market. The Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based firm filed for an initial public offering, with hopes of raising a whopping $1 billion.
Neither the number of shares nor the share price has been established. In its prospectus, the company said it plans to use proceeds to repay existing debt and cover unpaid dividends, with remaining money slated for working capital, capital expenditures and general corporate purposes including the acquisition of complementary technologies or businesses.
Not the average biotech start-up, Talecris was founded in April 2005, with backing from venture capital firms New York-based Cerberus Capital Management and Wellesley, Mass.-based Ampersand Ventures, to purchase the Bayer's plasma business, which included the widely prescribed liquid IVIG product, Gamunex (immune globulin intravenous [human]), approved in the U.S. and Europe for idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura and in Europe for Guillain-Barre syndrome, chronic lymphocytic leukemia,and post-bone marrow transplant. For the first quarter of 2007, Talecris recorded net revenue from Gamunex sales of $162.6 million, representing more than half of the company's total revenue of $302.4 million for the three month ending March 31.
Besides its IVIG franchise, Talecris also manufactures and sells several other plasma-based products, including: Prolastin, an alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor (A1PI) approved for treating alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency related to emphysema; Plasbumin, an albumin product for severe burns and acute liver and kidney failures; Koate DV1, a concentration containing Factor VII and Factor IX clotting factors for hemophilia; Thrombate III, which inhibits clotting factors; and hyperimmunes, antibody-rich preparations targeting diseases such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies RH sensitization and tetanus.
In its development pipeline, the company has started early clinical testing of Plasmin, a human plasma-derived thrombolytic. Earlier this month, Talecris presented Phase I results at the Thrombosis and Haemostasis meeting in Geneva showing a dose-related thrombolytic effect of Plasmin and reported preclinical data demonstrating reperfusion in a stroke model. The firm has started enrolling patients in a Phase I/II revascularization study.
Talecris also is working on a recombinant version of Plasmin and has partnered rights to that program in ophthalmic indications to Rochester, N.Y.-based Bausch & Lomb. Under the terms of that deal, the companies will co-develop the recombinant derivative of plasmin, and Talecris will pursue development outside of ocular indications. Bausch & Lomb continues to evaluate Plasmin's therapeutic potential to relieve retinal traction stemming from a previous agreement with Bayer.
Talecris, which reported net income of $34.3 million for the first quarter, had about $27.5 million in cash as of March 31. The company, however, expects a substantial cash burn over the next few years - with annual expenditures likely to approach or exceed $90 million - due largely to the construction of a new fractionation facility, and anticipates entering subsequent financing deals and credit facilities following its proposed IPO.
The company already has a manufacturing facility in Clayton, N.C., and has opened offices in Canada and Germany.
Morgan Stanley, Goldman, Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan will serve as underwriters for the proposed offering, and will hold an option to purchase additional shares to cover overallotments. Upon successful pricing of the IPO, shares of Talecris will trade on NASDAQ under the ticker "TLCR."
In other financings news:
• Curidium Medica plc, of London, added £2.5 million (US$5.1 million) in a private placement of 100 million shares priced at 2.5 pence each. Funds will be used to expand the company's business and product development activities, including opportunities that have come with the recent discovery of its PsychINDx test, which is designed to classify patients with schizophrenia/bipolar disorder into four subgroups. The company's focus is on developing targeted medicines and companion diagnostics for personalized treatment. Following the transaction, Curidium will have 557.8 million shares outstanding. As part of the deal, the lead investors will receive options to buy 5 million additional shares at 2.5 pence each during the next five years.
• MND Diagnostic, of Tel Aviv, Israel, a start-up firm focused on detecting and identifying viruses, and NLC Pharma Inc., also of Israel, which develops solutions for treating viral outbreaks, completed a capital round of $4.7 million. Both companies were established by entrepreneur and researcher Dorit Arad. The financing round included private investors from Switzerland, headed by the Dreyfus and Merilus families, and funds will be used to introduce MND's and NLC's products onto the global diagnostics market.
• Orthovita Inc., of Malvern, Pa., is adding $32.5 million in a registered direct offering of 12.3 million shares, priced at a 15 percent discount to the 30-day volume weighted average price. The company expects net proceeds to total about $32.2 million, and those funds will support product development, the expansion of the company's sales force, an increase in manufacturing capacity and for working capital and other general corporate purposes. Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, as the lead investor, gains a position on the board, naming R. Scott Barry. Other investors included Lehman Brothers Inc., Magnetar Capital and affiliates of William Harris Investors Inc. In a separate transaction, the company said it is repurchasing a revenue interest in future sales of certain products, including Vitoss, Cortoss and certain spinal structural devices, from a securitization vehicle arranged by Paul Capital Healthcare. The repurchase price for the revenue interest obligation consists of a payment of $20 million in cash and about 1.14 million unregistered shares. Orthovita will pay the $20 million securitization vehicle out of an initial $25 million in proceeds from a $45 million senior secured note purchase facility agreement with LB I Group Inc., a Lehman Brothers affiliate. Along with Barry, Paul Thomas and William Tidmore also joined Orthovita's board. The company's stock (NASDAQ:VITA) closed at $3.17 Monday, down 15 cents.
• Quark Biotech Inc., of Fremont, Calif., withdrew plans for an initial public offering, citing market conditions. The company filed for an IPO in late March, with hopes of raising $86 million to fund its ongoing work in RNA-interference. (See BioWorld Today, April 2, 2007.)