San Diego Business Journal

Ambit Is Seeking $86M in Proposed IPO

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

San Diego-based Ambit Biosciences Corp. recently upped its initial public offering proposal, raising it to $86.3 million as opposed to the $57.5 million it filed for in February.

The amended prospectus is the result of the termination of an agreement with Astellas Pharma Inc., a Japanese pharmaceutical company, said Ambit spokesman David Schull in an email. The company submitted the amended regulatory filing March 28.

In 2009, Ambit Biosciences partnered with Astellas Pharma Inc., to develop its lead drug candidate, a cancer drug called quizartinib. The drug was in clinical trials in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Astellas paid an upfront fee of $40 million to collaborate on the drug development.

But despite presenting positive data from the outcomes of a Phase II trial, on March 12, the companies announced that the collaboration will end this September.

"While our decision is based on strategic reasons, we are proud of our collaborative work with Ambit, and we are committed to working with Ambit on a smooth transition,” said Yoshihiko Hatanaka, President and CEO of Astellas in the statement.

Ambit said in the company's February 20 prospectus that it planned to use the original $57.5 million to promote three drugs — particularly its lead drug candidate, quizartinib. Following the termination of the agreement with Astellas, it still plans to advance clinical trials for the cancer drug.

“We are fully committed to moving forward with the Phase 3 clinical trial plan and look forward to advancing this important drug candidate toward approval,” Michael Martino, president and CEO of Ambit Biosciences, said in the March 12 statement.

This isn’t the first time that Ambit Biosciences has considered raising $86 million. In June 2011, the company withdrew its request with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise about $86 million through an initial public offering. It said in a regulatory filing that the IPO would have been a discretionary financing, and that the terms available at the time in the marketplace weren’t attractive enough to proceed.

The company has applied to list its common stock on the Nasdaq under the symbol AMBI. The joint book-running managers for the current offering are Citigroup and Leerink Swann. In addition, BMO Capital Markets is acting as lead manager and Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. is acting as co-manager.

— Meghana Keshavan

(This is an updated version of an earlier news item from this morning.)