WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Targacept
, the biopharmaceutical spinoff from RJ Reynolds, made its long-delayed public debut on Wednesday.
Targacept went public with an initial public offering of 5 million shares at a price of $9 a share. Its shares are now listed on the Nasdaq under TRGT.
The $45 million IPO was much less than the $11-13 per share Targacept had hoped for when it decided to restart IPO efforts that were launched initially in 2004 and then delayed due to market conditions.
Shares fell 34 cents to $8.66 by the close of trading.
Targacept is developing drugs based on research into nicotine. It has raised more than $120 million in venture capital financing.
The IPO was underwritten by Deutsche Bank Securities, Pacific Growth Equities, CIBC World Markets and Lazard Freres & Co.
Targacept recently received a $10 million payment from AstraZeneca for development of one of its compounds. The two companies signed a drug development deal in December that could be worth up to $300 million for Targacept.
The target of the deal is Targacept's compound known as Ispronicline, or TC-1734, which could prove to be effective in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive disorders. Targacept focuses on drug compounds targeting central nervous systems diseases and disorders.
The deal also calls for a four-year research collaboration through which Targacept will seek to discover other compounds and receive some $26 million in funding.
Targacept was launched in 1997 as a subsidiary of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. It became an independent company in 2000 and since then has raised more than $120 million in venture funding. It has 74 employees.
TC-1734 acts on neuronal nicotinic receptors, or NNRs, that are key regulators of the central nervous system, according to Targacept. Targacept already has a Phase II clinical trial for TC-1734 underway, targeting age associated memory impairment.