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Biosimilars Developer Lands $85 Million in IPO

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(A. Kotok)

7 November 2014. Coherus BioSciences Inc., a company developing medications comparable to brand-name biologic therapies, raised $85 million yesterday in its initial public stock offering. The Redwood City, California company trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol CHRS.

Coherus valued its 6,296,300 initial shares at $13.50. The stock opened today at $12.74 a share, but rose above $13.00 by noon ET.

The company, founded in 2010, designs, tests, and commercializes medications based on biological processes that work like brand-name biologic medications. Unlike conventional generic medications that mimic the actions of chemical-based drugs, biosimilars as this class of medications is called, need to demonstrate they are interchangeable with their branded counterparts. A provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act creates an abbreviated regulatory pathway in the U.S. for biosimilars.

As with generic drugs, biosimilars aim to provide branded-medication performance at a fraction of the cost, once the patent on a branded product expires. Coherus says its business model of analytics and partnerships with drug companies makes it possible to develop and test biosimilars quickly, while licensing commercialization rights for specific geographic regions its drug company partners. Coherus retains commercialization rights and activities in the U.S. and non-licensed regions.

An early biosimilar target for the company is etanercept, a biologic to treat autoimmune inflammatory disorders, such as rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, as well as the skin condition chronic plaque psoriasis. Etanercept is now marketed as Enbrel by Amgen.

Coherus is collaborating on an etanercept biosimilar with Baxter International for Europe, Canada, Brazil, and China. A comparable project with Daiichi Sankyo is developing an etanercept biosimilar for Japan and Asian markets other than China. This summer, the company began late-stage clinical trials testing its etanercept biosimilars for rheumatoid arthritis and chronic plaque psoriasis.

Also this summer, Coherus reported results of a trial showing its biosimilar for adalimumab, a monoclonal antibody engineered to treat many of the same autoimmune inflammatory disorders as etanercept, worked much the same way in healthy human volunteers as original adalimumab. The branded version of adalimumab is Humira, marketed by AbbVie.

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Hat tip: Fortune/Term Sheet

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