San Diego Business Journal

Auspex's Planned IPO Aims for $82.8 Million

By Meghana Keshavan Wednesday, February 5, 2014

La Jolla-based Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced the pricing of its $82.8 million initial public offering — just a month after it raised $35 million in venture funding.

The company will release 7 million shares of its common stock, priced at $12 per share. Auspex initially filed for the IPO confidentially with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 21, 2013. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol “ASPX.”

In January, it raised $20 million in a Series E equity round from Deerfield Management Co. and others, and a $15 million, four-year venture loan from Oxford Finance LLC.

Auspex is in phase 3 clinical trials for its drug that treats chorea — involuntary twisting and writhing movements — associated with Huntington’s disease, a degenerative genetic neurological disease. The company is also developing drugs for other movement disorders like Tourette’s syndrome.

Auspex was founded in 2001, and as of Dec. 31, 2013, it had 13 full-time employees and a number of consultants, according to a regulatory filing. The company has an accumulated deficit of $57.9 million, and has yet to commercialize any of the drugs in its pipeline.

The company ushered in several new executives into its C-suite this past October. Auspex’s executive chairman, Pratik Shah, became its CEO; Bharatt Chowrira, previously CEO of Addex Therapeutics, became its chief operating officer; and Samuel Saks, an Auspex board member and co-founder and CEO of Jazz Pharmaceuticals Inc., became chief development officer.

Additionally, John Schmid, co-founder and chief financial officer of Trius Therapeutics Inc. — a San Diego drug company acquired in September by Lexington, Mass.-based Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $704 million — was appointed Auspex’s new chief financial officer.

Seven San Diego life sciences companies have completed IPOs in the past year; a few others, like Celladon Corp., are waiting in the wings and expected to soon go public.