The Washington State University neurological drug developer has gone public after issuing 12 million shares priced at $17 each.

Athira Pharma, a US-based neuro-degenerative therapeutics spinout of Washington State University, raised $204m in its initial public offering on Thursday.

The company began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market after issuing 12 million shares priced at $17. The company had initially anticipated to issue 10 million shares priced between $15 and $17.

Founded in 2011 as M3 Biotechnology, Athira Pharma targets damaged neurological pathways as the basis for treating neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia.

The portfolio includes a clinical-stage drug called ATH-1017 for the neurodegenerative indications Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as pre-clinical programs for conditions including neuropathy and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Athira Pharma plans to invest $95m from the IPO to progress ATH-1017 and $30m for its pre-clinical programs. The rest is slated to fund other R&D and general expenses.

The spinout had closed an $85m series B round led by Perceptive Advisors in June 2020 with participants including RTW Investments, Franklin Templeton Investments, Viking Global Partners, Rock Springs Capital and Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners.

LifeSci Venture Partners also took part, as did Surveyor Capital, Highside Capital Management, Logos Capital, Sofinnova Investments, Avidity Partners, Sahsen Ventures, individual investors Rick and Suzanne Kayne, and undisclosed existing investors.

The funding followed a $1.4m investment from nonprofit organisation Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) in 2017. ADDF was described as Athira’s first investor, though further details could not be confirmed.

Angel investors Bruce and Michael Montgomery had co-led a $10m round for Athira in 2016, closing the round alongside WRF Capital – the early-stage arm of commercialisation firm Washington Research Foundation – and women and diversity-focused vehicle W Fund.

Leen Kawas, a former research associate at Washington State University, is CEO and president of Athira Pharma. His shareholding has been diluted from 9.3% to 5.5%.

Perceptive Life Sciences retains a 6.7% stake post-IPO, followed by RTW Investments (6.2%), Viking Global Investors (4.4%) and Franklin Templeton Investments (3.1%).

Goldman Sachs, Jefferies and Stifel are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering, while JMP Securities is serving co-manager. They have been granted a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1.8 million shares.