Investors found several small names making big jumps Thursday in a strong day for initial public offerings.

Pronai Therapeutics was the standout among the newcomers, soaring more than 80 percent by early afternoon. The clinical stage cancer drug developer's shares priced at $17, above the expected range, and hit $31.17 by Thursday afternoon.

Shares of the company, based in Canada, are trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol "DNAI."

There have been 49 health care IPOs this year, the most in any sector, according to research firm Renaissance Capital. There have been 109 initial public offerings thus far this year in the U.S. overall, raising $18.8 billion. That is nearly 28 percent fewer IPOs versus last year, which was a tremendously active period as companies such as Alibaba, GoPro and others went public.

Other strong performers Thursday included biotech company Chiasma and closeout retailer Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings, which both gained about 30 percent by the afternoon.

Chiasma raised $102 million by offering 6.4 million shares at $16, above the expected $13 to $15 range. It sold 1 million shares more than originally planned. Its shares are trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "CHMA." Chiasma was up $4.49 at $20.49.

Ollie's raised $143 million through its offering of 8.9 million shares at $16, also above the expected range. The company operates 187 warehouse style stores across the Eastern U.S. where it sells closeout housewares, books, food, toys and more. Its shares are trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "OLLI." Ollie's was up $5.27 to $21.27.

And Jupai Holdings Ltd. priced its offering at $10, at the low end of its expected range. Shares of the Chinese wealth management company rose 87 cents, or 8.7 percent, to $10.87. The American depository shares trade on the New York Stock Excyange under the symbol "JP."