Durham's Argos Therapeutics looking to raise up to $60 million with IPO

Posted by David Ranii on January 21, 2014 

Argos Therapeutics is hoping that Wall Street will value the business in the neighborhood of $250 million.

The Durham drug-development company, which last month filed plans to raise up to $60 million in an initial public offering, provided more details Tuesday in its latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company reported it is targeting a sale of 4.25 million shares of common stock for between $13 and $15 per share. The company also said it would have nearly 17.7 million shares of stock outstanding after an IPO. So if the company’s shares fetch $14 – the midpoint of its target price – that would push the total value of its outstanding stock to nearly $250 million.

Argos, which is developing several experimental drugs – most notably a promising treatment for kidney cancer – didn’t include these details in its earlier filing, which is typical when a company files its initial IPO plans.

Argos estimates that if it sells 4.25 million shares at $14 each, its net proceeds after underwriting fees and expenses would be about $52.7 million. The net proceeds would balloon to about $61 million if the underwriters exercised their options to purchase an additional 637,500 shares within 30 days of a successful IPO.

The company, which doesn’t have any drugs on the market and lost $15.9 million over the first nine months of last year in the face of $16.9 million in research-and-development expenses, plans to use any money it raises for further drug testing and to lease and equip a manufacturing facility.

In August, Argos raised $42.5 million in venture capital, the largest single round of venture capital funding for any Triangle company in 2013. It followed up by raising $26 million in October.

The 94-employee company has raised more than $180  million in venture capital, a testament to the high cost of drug development.

Argos tried going public in 2012 but withdrew its plans amid a lackluster market.

Argos is one of three Triangle companies that have filed plans to go public recently. The others are Square 1 Bank, which caters to venture-capital-backed companies, and NephroGenex, which is developing a treatment for kidney disease.

Last year, seven local companies, the most in recent memory, successfully raised anywhere from tens of millions of dollars to hundreds of millions of dollars via initial public offerings.

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