Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the lead underwriter alongside William Blair, Canaccord Genuity and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, according to a press release.
Since a $54 million initial public offering last April, VTL shares are up by half from their original price of $12, peaking above $33 in June before tailing back off to their current price just above $18.*
The San Diego-based company’s lead product, ELAD, is in Phase 3 clinical trials. ELAD relies on "immortal" blood cells, in Vital Therapies’ words, that when exposed to human liver cells can mimic their function. To date, Vital Therapies has focused on patients with damaged livers due to alcohol; it expects to release preliminary data from the current Phase 3 trial next year, while planning a second, Phase 3 trial for patients with severe alcoholic hepatitis; and a Phase 2 trial for people suffering from acute liver failure the result of surgery.
Some 30,000 people in the United States suffer acute liver failure, with similar incidence levels in Europe, according to statistics cited by Vital Therapies. The company has secured orphan drug status in the U.S. and Europe for the treatment of acute liver failure, giving it access to tax credits for expenses incurred in clinical testing; 7 years of market exclusivity in the United States, and 10 years of market exclusivity in Europe.
Still pre-revenue as of the 2nd quarter, Vital Therapies reported a $16.3 million loss as attributed to shareholders, closing the quarter with $93.5 million in cash and liquid investments.
CEO Terry Winters has led Vital Therapies since its 2003 formation. In early September, Vital Therapies hired former Hologic executive Al Kildani to lead business development and investor relations.