Antibiotics developer Cempra Pharmaceuticals is one of three healthcare companies expected to go public this week.

A total of eight initial public offerings are expected, according to Renaissance Capital, a Greenwich, Connecticut research firm specializing in initial public offerings.

Besides Chapel Hill-based Cempra’s planned $86 million IPO, the other healthcare-related IPOs on Renaissance’s radar for this week are Greenway Medical Technologies and Merrimack Pharmaceuticals.

Cempra’s two lead drug candidates are antibiotics that would address drug-resistant bacteria. Cempra is targeting an antibiotics market Datamonitor estimates was $19.6 billion in the United States, Japan and the five major European markets in 2009.

Proceeds from the Cempra IPO will finance late-stage clinical trials on two antibiotic candidates targeting drug-resistant bacteria. CEM-101, also called solithromycin, is ready to enter phase 3 clinical trials as a pneumonia treatment. The antibiotic treatment could also have applications in Legionnaires’ disease and sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis. Cempra reported positive phase 2 clinical trial results for the antibiotic last September, just prior to the firm’s October IPO filing.

A second candidate called Taksta has finished phase 2 clinical trials and would be studied in phase 3 as a treatment for skin infections, including MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus). Cempra earlier this month updated its filings, setting a price range of $11 to $13 per share for the IPO.

Cempra’s IPO is expected to be joined by two other healthcare-related public stock offerings. Georgia health IT firm Greenway Medical Technologies, which provides IT software for ambulatory healthcare providers, expects to raise up to $80 million by selling shares in the $11 to $13 per share range. Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, a Massachusetts firm that has technology to discover and develop novel cancer treatments, plans to raise $173 million by selling shares in the $8 to $10 range.

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