Shares of Watertown biotech Neumora Therapeutics retreated 4.4 percent Friday, in the company’s debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange, after it raised $250 million in an initial public offering.
The stock sale left Neumora with a market value of about $2.5 billion.
Neumora’s IPO, only the second this year of a Massachusetts biotech, priced 14.7 million shares at $17 a share on Thursday night. The stock began trading early Friday afternoon with the ticker NMRA, and edged down 75 cents to close at $16.25 a share on a day of broad market declines.
The four-year-old company, which is developing drugs to treat brain diseases, is backed by California drug maker Amgen and Japan’s SoftBank. Many investors and venture-backed startups have watched the IPO market closely for signs that the window might be opening for more biotechs to go public in coming months.
Apogee Therapeutics, a Waltham biotech, raised $345 million in an IPO in July. That was the only other Massachusetts company to complete a public stock offering in 2023. Only eight state-based biotechs executed IPOs in 2022, down from 25 in the previous year.
Nationally, just 13 biopharma companies have gone public on the Nasdaq so far this year, compared with 22 last year, according to data from the exchange. The number of IPOs from all sectors peaked at 397 in 2021, according to research firm Renaissance Capital.
Neumora in July said its drug candidate navacaprant showed meaningful benefits in a mid-stage clinical trial for patients suffering from major depressive disorder. The experimental drug is moving into its final stage of testing for what could be a large and profitable market.
Last month’s failure of a pill developed by Cambridge biotechs Biogen and Sage Therapeutics to win Food and Drug Administration approval to treat major depressive disorder created an opening for Neumora’s drug. The Biogen-Sage pill was cleared by the FDA to treat portpartum depression, a debilitating but less prevalent condition.
Robert Weisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.