Akela Pharma Files for IPO

Akela Pharma Inc., a Saint-Laurent, Quebec-based drug company focused on pain therapeutics, has filed for a $36.6 million IPO. It already trades on the TSX under ticker symbol AKL, and plans to also trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol AKLA. Lazard Capital Markets is serving as lead underwriter. Akela shareholders include Atlas Venture (8.5%), Great Point Partners (8.5%) and Sitra (6.64%). www.labinc.ca


NEW YORK (AP) – Akela Pharma Inc., which is developing therapies for the inhalation and pain markets, plans a U.S. public offering of 5.3 million shares of common stock, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday.


Akela expects the IPO to price between $6 and $8.


The Canadian company plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol “AKLA.” Akela's shares are currently listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “AKL,” where they closed at $6.56 on Oct. 5.


Akela's lead product is a rapid-acting inhaled drug for the treatment of breakthrough cancer pain. Breakthrough pain is a common component of chronic pain and is characterized by rapid onset, intensity and relatively short duration. The company said these intermittent flare-ups of intense pain “break through” the effect of chronic pain medication.


The company expects to begin late-stage clinical trials of its inhaled drug during the first quarter of 2008.


Akela's pipeline also includes therapeutics for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, growth hormone deficiencies and controlled substance abuse deterrent formulations.


For the six months ended June 30, Akela narrowed its losses to $14.3 million, on an adjusted basis, from $34.2 million in the first half of 2006. During the same period, the company's revenue fell to $5.1 million from $11.8 million.


The company expects to raise about $29.2 million after underwriting discounts and expenses from the IPO. Proceeds will be used for research and development, to expand Akela's product candidates and for other working capital and general corporate purposes.


Akela expects to have 17.1 million shares outstanding after the IPO.

Lazard Capital Markets is the IPO's lead underwriter. Oppenheimer & Co. and Broadpoint Capital are also underwriting the offering.


Akela gave underwriters an option to buy up to 787,500 additional shares to cover overallotments.