Endocyte prices IPO stock

Endocyte Inc. priced shares for its initial public offering this week, moving one step closer toward raising more than $80 million to fund its cancer drug development.

The West Lafayette-based drug-development firm intends to sell 6.15 million shares for $13 to $15 apiece. That range would fetch $80 million to $92 million.

Those figures include 802,500 shares that will be sold only if demand outstrips the initial allotment of shares of 5.35 million. If Endocyte sells only the smaller amount of shares, it would raise between $70 million and $80 million.

In either case, more than $10 million of the funds will cover Endocyte’s costs in staging the IPO.

Endocyte first indicated in August it would take itself public by selling shares worth $86.3 million, but not until Wednesday did it disclose the price range and number of shares to be sold.

Endocyte operates out of 14,000 square feet at Purdue University Research Park as well as a 4,000-square-foot office in Indianapolis. It is developing six cancer drugs, most of which target cancer cells by binding to their receptors for the compound folate.

Such receptors are “over-expressed” in cancer cells, compared with healthy cells, so Endocyte’s drugs have the potential to be more potent killing the cancers while attacking fewer healthy cells than existing chemotherapy agents.

Endocyte’s leading drug, called EC145, is being tested to treat ovarian cancer that is resistant to platinum-based drugs, as well as to treat non-small-cell lung cancer.

Endocyte launched 15 years ago, based on the research of Philip Low, a Purdue University chemistry professor who serves as Endocyte’s chief science officer.

Venture capitalists in Indiana and nationally have thrown money at the company with abandon. Local investors include CID Capital, Clarian Health Ventures and the Indiana Future Fund.

An even larger investor is the pension fund of the Indianapolis-based Christian Church (Disciples of Christ): It stands to hold nearly 2.5 million shares in Endocyte after the public offering, worth at least $32.2 million. That amount is more than triple the $10.3 million the church invested in Endocyte.

Endocyte will trade on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol ECYT.

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