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Baltimore drug company Cerecor raises $26 million in stock sale

Cerecor logo

Cerecor, a Baltimore pharmaceutical company testing an antidepressant for patients who are not responding to other drugs, raised $26 million in an initial public stock offering Thursday.

The company said it sold 4 million shares for $6.50 apiece. Shares rose to $6.59 when they first appeared on the NASDAQ Capital Market just before 11 a.m. Thursday but ended the day at $6.40.

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The price was within Cerecor's expected range of $6 to $7.

Cerecor likely will pocket about $22 million from the offering. Company officials had expected to net about $22.7 million in an offering of 4.23 million shares at $6.50 per share, after accounting for discounts, commissions and other expenses, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

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Shares are trading under the symbol CERCU.

Cerecor is conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial of a drug it calls CERC-301, which it says can help patients who are experiencing severe depression despite receiving other treatments. The drug is licensed from Merck & Co.

It is a long way from Phase 2 trials, which test whether the drug is effective, to approval of a new drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It can take several years to bring a new drug to market.

Other drugs that Cerecor is developing seek to treat substance abuse disorders and impaired brain function linked to depression and other diseases.

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Before the stock offering, Cerecor had raised $51.1 million in private stock placements and debt.

The company's CEO, Dr. Blake Paterson, previously founded the Baltimore biotechnology company Alba Therapeutics and is an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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