A Cambridge biotech firm is hoping the failure of its potential cancer treatment a year ago won’t alarm public-market investors as the company seeks to go public.
Cerulean Pharma is seeking to raise $75 million in the initial public offering of stock. The money would be used to take the company’s method for targeting anti-cancer agents to tumors — while sparing healthy tissue — and apply it to a different type of cancer. Cerulean filed its IPO plan with federal regulators on Monday.
The company is aiming to go public amid a booming biotech IPO market. Dozens of young drug companies went public last year — including nine in Massachusetts — while five have completed IPOs from Massachusetts alone so far this year.
Cerulean had initially sought to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung cancer. The treatment didn’t hit its target for “overall survival benefit” in a Phase 2b study, however.
Now the company — which describes its offerings as “nanopharmaceuticals” — is seeking to bring its approach to other cancers including kidney, ovarian, and rectal. The most imminent is a treatment for kidney cancer, which is expected to head to trials in the second half of this year.
Cerulean Pharma has raised at least $81 million in funding since its launch in 2007.
Polaris Partners of Waltham is the largest shareholder in the company, with a 32.3 percent stake. Other top shareholders include Venrock (20.8 percent of shares), Lilly Ventures (16.2 percent), Crown Ventures (10.9 percent), and Lux Capital (9.4 percent).
Cerulean’s founders are MIT biological engineering professor Ram Sasisekharan, along with Alan Crane of Polaris Partners and Shiladit Sengupta, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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