NeurogesX, a San Carlos, Calif., biotech focused on pain medication, priced its IPO yesterday at $11 per share, below its expected range of $13 to $15. The company raised approximately $44 million, down from an expected $69 million.

The company’s lead drug candidate, NGX-4010, is a transdermal skin patch designed to deliver low doses of synthetic capsaicin — a version of the active ingredient that makes chili peppers spicy — directly to the site of chronic neuropathic pain. The company claims that one application may provide three months of pain relief.

NeurogesX’s IPO experience mirrors that of many other biotechs, which in general have found it difficult to draw much investor interest with initial offerings — in stark contrast to the enthusiastic reaction of large pharmaceutical companies looking to snap up the makers of promising drugs at rich premiums. NeurogesX’s IPO release is here.