By Matthew Willett

Market favor continued to shine over biotech initial public offerings this summer as Large Scale Biology Corp., Esperion Therapeutics Inc. and Regeneration Technologies Inc. got their IPOs through.

These most recent IPOs make a dozen in the U.S. so far in August - for a total of $900 million - following 15 in July. So far this year, 59 public offerings worldwide in biotech have generated $5.2 billion. Last year, there were only 14 IPOs in the biotech sector.

Large Scale Biology, of Vacaville, Calif., priced its 5-million-share IPO at $17 per share, grossing $85 million. The company initially proposed selling 3.5 million shares at $20 to $21 per share. Underwriters were J.P. Morgan Securities Corp., Chase H&Q, William Blair &Co. LLC, Allen & Co. Inc., Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Jackson Securities Inc. and First Security Van Casper.

Esperion, of Ann Arbor, Mich., offered 6 million shares at $9 apiece, grossing $54 million. Underwriters led by Robertson Stephens Inc. and including Chase H&Q and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc. have an option on another 900,000 shares to cover overallotments.

Regeneration Technologies, of Alachua, Fla., sold 5.7 million shares at $14 per share, grossing $79.8 million. But only 3.8 million of the shares were sold by the company, so its share of the IPO was $53.2 million. A private shareholder offered the remainder. Co-managing underwriters for the Regeneration offering were Lehman Brothers Inc. and Stephens Inc.

Large Scale has 22.36 million shares outstanding. According to its prospectus, the company has cash and cash equivalents of $6.3 million as of March 31.

Large Scale said it plans to use the funding for research and development, product development, working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes.

The Vacaville, Calif.-based company uses its proprietary technologies, ProGEx and Geneware, to develop products and establish commercialization collaborations with pharma and biotech companies. ProGEx is an automated high-throughput protein composition assay system used to rapidly identify protein changes associated with disease or a therapeutic effect. Geneware is an automated technology designed to rapidly insert genes into host organisms with the intention of finding novel genes and gene function.

Esperion said it plans to use the proceeds from the offering for furthering product commercialization and development, license agreement payments and general working capital. As of March 31 the company had $27.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The company uses high-density lipoproteins for cardiovascular applications including treatment of life-threatening acute coronary syndrome and high blood cholesterol levels. It has five drug candidates under development for indications in cardiovascular disease. ProApoA-I, a precursor of HDL protein ApoA-I, has successfully completed preclinical human trials testing the compound's ability to aid in the reduction of blood cholesterol levels, and Esperion plans to initiate clinical trials for the compound later this year.

Esperion, founded in 1998, has about 24 million shares outstanding after the offering.

Regeneration Therapeutics, with 21.3 million shares outstanding after the offering, had cash and cash equivalents of $763,000 as of June 30.

The company focuses on tissue repair and graft products. It's allograft procedure harvests tissue from a cadaveric donor for transplant. It uses its BioClense system to kill or inactivate pathogens, viruses, microbes, bacteria and fungi in up to 100 donors at a time.

Regeneration plans to use the proceeds from the offering to fund continuing research, for construction of a manufacturing facility and additional BioClense systems, expansion of existing tissue recovery and distribution activities and for general corporate purposes and working capital.

Large Scale's stock (NASDAQ:LSBC) jumped 29 percent on Thursday, closing at $21.875. Esperion (NASDAQ:ESPR) rose 31 percent to finish at $11.75, up $2.75. And Regeneration's stock (NASDAQ:RTIX) closed up 6 cents at $14.06.

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