Aratana Therapeutics shares soar in trading debut

Humane Society of the United States representative Sarah Speed, left, and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Veterinarian Dr. Nan Hanshaw examine one of the nearly 200 Chihuahuas seized from a home in northeastern Pennsylvania, on Friday, July 20, 2012, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg, Pa.
William R. Nichols,AP Photo/Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Shares of pet medicine developer Aratana Therapeutics are soaring in their first trading day on the Nasdaq Global Market.

The stock, whose ticker symbol is PETX, is up 48 percent, or $2.90, to $8.90 per share in afternoon trading, while the Nasdaq exchange had climbed less than 1 percent.

The Kansas City, Kan., company raised $34.5 million in an initial public offering of 5.7 million shares that was priced well below the range of $11 to $13 originally expected.

The banks managing the offering may buy an additional 862,500 shares to sell if there's demand. That would increase the IPO proceeds.

Aratana is developing potential pet medicines based on compounds created by human drug companies. It has no approved products on the market, but is developing pain treatments for both cats and dogs.