Coronado Biosciences (NASDAQ: CNDO) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel immunotherapy biologic agents for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer. On December 15, Coronado received NASDAQ approval for listing. The stock opens today at $6.50.
However, CNDO has chosen an unusual path to becoming a publicly listed company. The company raised $47.4 million privately over the last year, then filed a Form 10 with the SEC “so it could become a public company by registering all its private shares as common stock, rather than undergoing a typical, underwritten IPO. Coronado—which moved from New York City to Burlington, MA, in August—was approved to trade over the counter in mid-November.”
“By choosing to go it alone, without an underwriter, Coronado has shouldered the entire onus of attracting investors. CEO Bobby Sandage says he’s been making the rounds at investment conferences, and working hard to meet Nasdaq’s minimum requirements for publicly listed companies. “We need a certain number of shareholders, and with 550 we’re well above the requirement,” he says. “We needed a minimum bid price of $4 and for the stock to be trading every day. We got our volume up to the 10,000-to-20,000 range.” It also helped that on November 22, an analyst for Roth Capital Partners began covering Coronado in a report declaring the company to be “the caviar of biotech.”
In another article about Coronado, written over the summer, Weintraub wrote that
"Management’s deliberate decision not to seek out Big Pharma partners to bankroll its clinical trials may seem bold at a time when cash-strapped biotechs need all the help they can get. But Sandage and his team of seven are confident that their two experimental treatments—CNDO-201 [to treat the intestinal disorder Crohn’s disease] and an anti-cancer molecule called CNDO-109—are so promising that they can afford to handle the research themselves, so they can ultimately hold onto all the profits. “They have such broad applications for huge unmet medical needs,” Sandage says, adding that Coronado keeps costs down by outsourcing R&D."
It looks like that confidence is well founded. Both CNDO-201 and CNDO-109 are sparking interest among investors. CNDO is currently preparing to begin Phase 1 studies of CNDO-201, a drug containing 2,500 eggs from a parasite found in pigs. If all goes well, Sandage says, another trial will begin in the second quarter of 2012.
The company also presented data from a Phase 1 study of CNDO-109 last week at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Diego. The data showed that the drug lengthened remission rates. A second trial is planned for this drug as well, also in early 2012.
As for the company's stock, Weintraub writes that:
“After an early trade at $11 when Coronado was on the OTC bulletin board, shares have fallen back to the $6 range. Because Coronado went public via a Form 10, there was no set offering price—the price will be determined entirely by the market. Sandage isn’t concerned. “Now there are many more broker-dealers who can trade the stock,” he says. As for Coronado’s speedy route from the OTC market to a true Nasdaq listing, Sandage hopes it sends a positive signal to antsy biotech investors: “I think Nasdaq saw that Coronado was a real company."