Emergent BioSolutions files for IPO on Nasdaq



Anthrax vaccine maker Emergent BioSolutions Inc. announced plans yesterday to eventually sell shares of stock to the public on the Nasdaq market in an initial offering that could raise as much as $86 million.

Three Maryland biotechnology companies have gone public this year, and another - Neuralstem Inc. of Rockville - is planning to do so in the fall. But it's been a tough debut for such businesses.

Nationwide, 11 biotech companies have gone public this year but only two have met their stock pricing goals. Baltimore's Osiris Therapeutics Inc. was one of them, selling its first public shares for $11 each this month. Its stock has since fallen $1.10 to close at $9.90 yesterday.

Investors are often leery of biotechnology companies, which take years and spend millions to bring drugs to market. Many have little, if any, revenue when they begin selling public shares and no hope of making money in the near term.

But Emergent BioSolutions, which makes products that manipulate immune systems to treat or prevent disease, has been profitable for the past three years. In 2005, its sales were $127.3 million, and the Gaithersburg company already has locked in revenue for 2007, signing a deal last spring to deliver 5 million doses of its BioThrax vaccine - worth $120 million - to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services next year.

BioThrax is the only anthrax vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration, though several others are in development.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company, which has 450 employees, said it is working on commercial vaccines to treat typhoid, hepatitis B and a version of the streptococcus virus, among others. On the defense side, where its customers would be made up of government agencies, Emergent BioSolutions is developing two products to battle the botulinum toxin as well and a post-anthrax exposure treatment.

Underwriters of the offering are J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., Cowen and Company LLC and HSBC Securities (USA) Inc.


Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.