Reata is a clinical trial-based company that’s developing drugs to fight heart disease and rare muscular and nervous system-related diseases. (Reata)

Irving pharmaceutical company Reata stock debuted on the NASDAQ stock exchange this morning and the market responded favorably. Shares closed at $13, about 19 percent above the initial public offering price.

Reata Pharmaceuticals raised about $52.5 million, after fees, by offering 5.5 million shares at $11 a share. The company initially had planned to offer 4 million shares at a range of $14 to $16, according to Renaissance Capital, an IPO investment research firm based in Greenwich, Conn. The company’s ticker symbol is RETA.

On Thursday, the company sold about 26 percent of shares to the public. The rest of shares are owned by major holders, including Novo A/A, Cardinal Investment Company, CPMG and Abbvie.

Warren Huff, Reata’s CEO and president, rang the closing bell.

Reata is a clinical-stage company that develops cardiovascular drugs to fight hypertension and other drugs that target rare diseases, such as mitochondrial myopathies such as muscular dystrophy and Friedreich’s Ataxia, a rare inherited disease that causes movement problems and nervous system damage.

Reata executives plan to use proceeds from stock sales to develop pharmaceuticals and fund clinical trials, according to a company news release.

It’s been a tough year for the IPO market. There have been 43 IPOs filed, about 55 percent fewer than last year at this time, according to Renaissance Capital. A company’s decision to file for an IPO can be a pricey one. Reata spent about $8 million in fees and underwriting  expenses.

Reata is one of four companies that had an IPO Thursday. The other companies were Cotiviti Holdings, a payment solutions company for health care; Gypsum Management and Supply, a distributor of drywall and other building materials; and US Foods Holding, a food service distributor.

The pharmaceutical company raised a significant amount of venture capital leading up to its initial public offering. In 2011, it raised $300 million in venture capital, one of the largest investments that year.

Reata is in a capital-intensive and risky industry because of the cost of developing drugs, length of clinical trials and regulatory approval process, the company said in a federal filing. In the filing, company executives said that Reata has “incurred significant losses” and may continue to do so.

“We anticipate that we will continue to incur losses for the foreseeable future and may never achieve or sustain profitability,” the company said in the filing. “We may require additional financings to fund our operations.”

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