IPO Report: Esperion Therapeutics

Francis Gaskins  |

Based in Plymouth, MI, Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR) scheduled a $63 million IPO with a market capitalization of $197 million, at a price range mid-point of $14 for Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

10 IPOs are scheduled to trade the week of June 24th.  The full IPO calendar is at IPOpremium. Trial and paid & trial subscribers get early, complete financial analysis.

ESPR S-1 filed June 12, 2013

Manager, Joint Managers:  Credit Suisse; Citi

Co-Managers:  JMP Securities; Stifel


ESPR is developing a drug to minimize the side effects and intollerance of cholesterol lowering statins.  The executive chairman and Chief Scientific officers is a co-discoverer of Lipitor, the best selling statin. 


ESPR has an accumulated deficit of $46mm. It is priced at 2.6 times book value.


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Esperion Therapeutics (ESPR)


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ESPR is in Phase 2 clinical trials and has no collaboration partner. Normally ESPR would be an avoid. However, in this case because the executive chairman and Chief Scientific Officer is a co-discover of Lipitor, ESPR may be worth a shot as long as the market doesn’t tank.


ESPR is a biopharmaceutical company focused on therapies for the treatment of patients with elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and other cardiometabolic risk factors.

ETC-1002, the lead product candidate, is a novel, first in class, orally available, once-daily LDL-C lowering small molecule therapy designed to target known lipid and carbohydrate metabolic pathways to lower levels of LDL-C and to avoid many of the side effects associated with existing LDL-C lowering therapies. ESPR owns the exclusive worldwide rights to ETC-1002 and the other product candidates.


ESPR’s founder, Executive Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, Roger S. Newton, Ph.D., FAHA, co-discovered the statin marketed as Lipitor® (atorvastatin calcium), the most prescribed LDL-C lowering therapy in the world and the best-selling drug in the history of the pharmaceutical industry.


ESPR is initially pursuing the clinical development of ETC-1002 as a therapy for patients with elevated levels of LDL-C, or hypercholesterolemia, who are statin intolerant. Various studies estimate that more than 50% of patients stop taking statins within one year of initiating treatment.

To date, ESPR has treated 275 subjects in six completed clinical trials, including three Phase 2a trials.


ETC-1002 works by inhibiting ATP citrate lyase (ACL) and activating 5′-adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Its regulation of ACL and AMPK is complementary, since both enzymes are known to play significant roles in the synthesis of cholesterol and glucose in the liver.

By inhibiting cholesterol synthesis in the liver, ETC-1002 causes the liver to take up LDL particles from the blood, which reduces blood LDL-C levels.


Statins are the current standard of care for LDL-C lowering for approximately 30 million patients in the United States. However, based upon a recent academic survey, ESPR estimates that more than 2 million U.S. adults have discontinued statin therapy because of muscle pain or weakness. ESPR also believes that because symptoms of muscle pain or weakness occur in up to 20% of patients on statin therapy in clinical practice, the size of the statin intolerant market is poised to grow if a novel non-statin therapy becomes available.


 On June 7, 2013, ESPR reported top-line results for a Phase 2a clinical trial evaluating ETC-1002 as an LDL-C lowering agent specifically in patients with a history of intolerance to two or more statins.

This clinical trial met its primary endpoint, demonstrating that ETC-1002 lowered LDL-C by an average of 32%. ETC-1002 was well tolerated and no patients treated with ETC-1002 discontinued the trial because of muscle pain or weakness.

ESPR expects to initiate a larger Phase 2b clinical trial in this targeted population by the end of 2013 and to report top-line results by the end of 2014.

ESPR completed Phase 2a clinical trials have demonstrated significant average LDL-C reductions as high as 43% and reductions comparable to statins in levels of high sensitivity C-reactive protein, or hsCRP, a key marker of inflammation.

ESPR also intends to advance the development of ETC-1002 as a therapy for the approximately 11 million U.S. patients currently on statin therapy but who are unable to achieve their LDL-C goals.


ESPR wasfounded in January 2008 by former executives of and investors in the original Esperion Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, which was primarily focused on the research and development of therapies to regulate high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or HDL-C.

After successfully completing a Phase 2a clinical trial with its synthetic HDL therapy, the original Esperion was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in 2004. ETC-1002 was first discovered at the original Esperion and ESPR  subsequently acquired the rights to it from Pfizer in 2008, and ESPR is not liable for any royalties to Pfizer.  To date, ESPR has raised $57 million to develop ETC-1002.


As of May 31, 2013, Espr’s patent estate, including patents espr ownS or licenseS from third parties, on a worldwide basis, included approximately 15 issued United States patents and 6 pending United States patent applications and 6 issued patents and 25 pending patent applications in other foreign jurisdictions.

A second subset of this portfolio relates to the early-stage product candidate ESP41091. ESP41091 is claimed in U.S. Patent Nos. 7,119,221 and 7,405,226. Various methods of treatment using ESP41091 are claimed in U.S. Patent Nos. 8,153,690 and 8,309,604 and in at least one other pending application in the United States. There are currently two issued patents and four pending applications in countries outside the United States that relate to ESP41091.


Alta Partners VIII, L.P., 19.6%

Aisling Capital II, L.P., 19.6%
Entities affiliated with Domain Partners VII, L.P., 19.8%
Entities affiliated with Arboretum Ventures II, L.P., 6.1%
Entities affiliated with Longitude Capital Partners, LLC, 17.9%
Pfizer Inc., 10.1%


ESPR expects to net $56.5 million from its IPO.  Proceeds are allocated as follows:

    • $29.0 million to fund development costs associated with clinical studies and related operations of the Phase 2b program of ETC-1002 and for costs associated with the end of Phase 2 meeting with the FDA;

    • $12.0 million to fund development costs associated with non-clinical studies and related activities for ETC-1002;

    •the remainder for general corporate purposes, including internal development costs, working capital, general administrative costs and the prosecution and maintenance of intellectual property.

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