Marinus Pharmaceuticals, an eight-person company working on a drug that may be effective against epileptic seizures, went public Thursday with a stock price of $8 a share.
The shares traded as high as $8.16 on Thursday on the NASDAQ exchange, and closed at $8.00.
The New Haven-based company raised $45 million, and has the possibility of raising a little more in the next month. Its original target was $52 million, but even at this level of funding, the company can cover the next two years of expenses, CEO Chris Cashman said late Thursday. That was the goal for the offering.
Cashman said: "I'm very happy, this is a big accomplishment for the company. This is going to enable us to really move all of our programs forward."
Marinus has completed a Phase 2 clinical trial in 147 epilepsy patients of ganaxolone and found that subjects who added ganaxolone to the drugs they were already taking had a 20 percent reduction in seizures compared with those taking a placebo. In an extension, placebo patients who were switched to ganaxolone also had fewer seizures.
Marinus pays contract research companies to run the trials, which are being done mostly in the United States, though not in Connecticut. Some patients are in Russia.
The company has also done research on whether ganaxolone could stop seizures as the only medication. Half the patients who took it didn't have a seizure during the length of the study, twice as many as those on a placebo.
The company plans to use the proceeds of the stock offering to pay for a 300-patient clinical trial needed for FDA approval. That trial is expected to be done in the second half of 2015.
Cashman said the company will need to conduct a second study that will go through 2018, so the company does not expect to go to the Food and Drug Administration until early 2019.
He said in order to cover expenses after the next two years, Marinus will either need to partner with a more established drug company, or go back to the market to raise more capital.
The company also is researching whether ganaxolone could help treat Fragile X Syndrome. It would seek an orphan drug designation for that application.
Marinus has spent $53 million on research and development and $12.5 million on overhead since it was founded 11 years ago. Venture capitalists invested nearly $22 million in the company a year ago. Connecticut Innovations also invested in Marinus early on, but the company bought out the quasi-public agency's stake long ago.