Is the IPO market opening up a bit for biotech and small pharmaceutical companies?  The venture capital community certainly hopes so, especially as third quarter M&A activity took a dip this year from both the second quarter and last year’s third quarter. As we were going to print, Regulus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RGLS) priced its 11.25 million share IPO at $4.00 per share with Lazard Capital Markets, Cowen and Company and BMO Capital Markets as the joint book-running managers.  The good news is that the price has not dipped below the offering price.  The company is advancing microRNA therapeutics toward clinical development in several areas, including oncology, fibrosis, hepatitis C and metabolic diseases.  Waiting to go are Kythera Biopharmaceuticals with its 4 million share offering, and Intercept Pharmaceuticals.  
Who doesn’t know someone with sleep apnea?  The Sleep Foundation (yes, there really is one) has estimated that up to 18 million people in the U.S. alone  have some form of sleep apnea, a disorder which occurs when someone’s breathing is interrupted during sleep, leading to lower levels of oxygen to the brain.  Apnex Medical recently raised an additional $10 million from New Enterprise Associates, Domain Associates and Polaris Ventures, on top of $50 million previously raised.  The company is developing an implantable device that will detect a patient’s breathing pattern during sleep and provide electric pulses to the nerve that controls the muscles that keep airwaves open.  If successful, not only will it result in a good night’s sleep for a lot of people, it could also save a lot of marriages.  In other VC news, Third Rock Ventures announced the formation of MyoKardia, Inc. with a $38 million Series A financing.  The company is developing a pipeline of novel small molecule therapeutics that address key clinical needs for patients with genetic heart disease.  In another Series A round, Vascular Pharmaceuticals raised $16 million in a financing co-led by Intersouth Partners and MPM Capital.  The company is working on new products to treat patients with complications arising from diabetes.  They simultaneously signed an agreement with Janssen Biotech to sell the company to Janssen, at Janssen’s option, upon successful completion of a Phase 2 clinical study.  Janssen is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).  No need for an IPO on this one……..Want to read more? Click here for a free trial to The Health Care M&A Information Source and download the current issue today