UPDATE 1-Anthera Pharmaceuticals IPO postponed

Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:50pm EST

* Underwriters have no comment on reason for postponement

* IPO of 4.61 mln shares had been expected

NEW YORK Feb 24 (Reuters) - Money-losing biotech company Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc (ANTH.O) postponed an initial public offering scheduled for Wednesday, its underwriters said.

The Hayward, California-based company had been expected to sell 4.61 million shares at $13 to $15 each. The stock had been scheduled to debut on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.

The underwriters declined to comment on why the IPO was postponed.

IPO research firm Renaissance Capital said, "Investors were likely concerned about Anthera's inadequate funding, unclear timeline to commercialization and lack of collaboration agreements with larger pharmas."

Anthera is developing drugs for diseases associated with inflammation, including cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. It currently has three drugs in clinical trials.

The company has posted losses every year since it was formed in September 2004 and has warned it expects significant and increasing losses in the foreseeable future.

Anthera had planned to use IPO proceeds for drug development and general corporate purposes. The company has licensing agreements with Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N), Shionogi & Co Ltd (4507.T) and Amgen Inc (AMGN.O). Anthera says it owes these companies milestone and royalty payments.

Major shareholders in Anthera include VantagePoint Venture Partners and Sofinnova Venture Partners. The underwriters were led by Deutsche Bank Securities. (Reporting by Clare Baldwin and Joe Giannone; editing by John Wallace)