Athira Pharma will raise at least $204 million as the Seattle biotech startup becomes a public company on Friday.
Athira priced its IPO on Thursday evening at $17 per share, which came in at the high end of its range. The company is selling 12 million shares.
Founded in 2011, Athira is in late-stage development for its lead therapeutic candidate called NDX-1017. The drug could halt or reverse the nerve damage that causes Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses including Parkinson’s and ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It uses regenerative technology that rebuilds connections between neurons.
Formerly known as M3 Biotechnology, the company is led by Dr. Leen Kawas, a 35-year-old CEO who will be the first woman to guide a company to an initial public offering in Washington state in more than two decades.
In its IPO paperwork, Athira reported a net loss of $5.2 million in 2019, and a loss of $3.8 million through the first six months of 2020.
The company notes in its filing, “We do not have any products approved for commercial sale, and we have not generated any revenues related to our products since inception.” That reflects the traditional life cycle of biotech companies, which commonly invest in research and development for years before bringing products to market.
Athira will be the third Washington state company to go public this year, following health tech startup Accolade and marketing startup ZoomInfo. It is the first Seattle biotech to go public since Adaptive Biotechnologies IPO’d last year.
Athira just raised capital from private investors, reeling in a $85 million Series B round in June. Total funding to date is north of $100 million.
The company’s largest shareholder is Perceptive Life Sciences, which led the Series B round and has a 11.6% stake, followed by RTW Investments at 10.9%. Kawas is the third-largest shareholder with a 9.4% stake.
Athira will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker ATHA.
The market for biotech IPOs is red-hot this year. Tech IPOs are also on the rise despite the ongoing economic crisis. Data warehousing startup Snowflake this week raised $3.4 billion in the largest software IPO ever. Many companies have traded higher since debuting on the public markets over the past several months.
Others including DoorDash, Airbnb, and more are expected to go public soon. “It’s bonanza time in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street,” reported The New York Times.