Calithera Biosciences is 1st Bay Area IPO to follow Alibaba

The first Bay Area IPO to follow Alibaba’s record-breaking Wall Street debut began trading with mixed success Thursday morning.

Calithera Biosciences, a South San Francisco clinical-stage pharmaceutical company, priced its 8 million shares below the target range of $13 to $15, but still managed to raise a respectable $80 million. The company, which is developing small-molecule drugs that target tumors to help treat cancer, priced shares at $10 each in its first day on the NASDAQ. By midday on Wall Street, shares, trading under the symbol CALA, were down slightly to $9.60.

Calithera executives declined a request for an interview.

The company is the first in the Bay Area to go public since July, and comes on the heels of Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO last month, a historic event that many would expect would initiate a deluge of tech IPOs. Up next is Yodlee, a personal financial management tech firm that is poised to raise $93.4 million when it begins trading on Friday. The Redwood City company makes apps for customers of big financial institutions.

Another Redwood City company, Dermira, a biotech company developing dermatology treatment, is also expected to begin trading Friday.

But the excitement around Alibaba’s success didn’t convince Box, the San Francisco cloud software company that filed for an IPO way back in March, to speed up its laggard IPO process. The company will delay its market debut until 2015, citing concerns over volatile market conditions, according to Bloomberg.

Box expects to raise $150 million with its IPO, but it has struggled with increased competition from Google, Amazon and Microsoft, which have created a price war in cloud storage and forced Box to rethink its strategy. The company did get a financial boost in July by raising $150 million at a valuation of $2.4 billion.


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