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Genomics Sector Gets IPO Fever Big Time

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What happens when the US president and British prime minister declare the sequencing of the human genome the greatest scientific feat since landing on the moon?

Initial public offerings.

Following a script written by Internet companies in the late 1990s, far-from-profitable genomic technologies companies, many with no focused business plans, are going public.

But that does not keep financial analysts from touting their worth.

“Whereas a lot of Internet businesses are simply service providers or information providers and are not going to help you create a product, bioinformatics will,” said John Buchanan, director of marketing and business development at San Francisco merchant bank Burrill & Company.

With that in mind, here’s a list of all of the companies that recently launched IPOs or have filed to go public. In the past two weeks alone, genomics companies have raised a total of $388 million.

Companies that have launched IPOs:

•   Bruker Daltonics (Nasdaq: BDAL), Billerica, Mass.: Mass spectrometer manufacturer raised $104 million. In the first day of trading, the stock climbed 75 percent to close at $22.88.

•   Deltagen (Nasdaq: DGEN), Menlo Park, Calif.: Gene knockout and functional genomics database provider, raised $105 million. Shares closed up 26 percent at $19 in the first day of trading.

•   Genaissance Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: GNSC), New Haven, Conn.: Developer of technology for analyzing gene variations, raised $78 million. Shares recently traded about $2 above their initial price of $13. 

•   Rosetta Inpharmatics (Nasdaq: RSTA), Kirkland, Wash.: Gene expression data collector raised $100.8 million. Stock debuted at $16.25, 16 percent higher than its expected $14 offering price.

Companies in the IPO pipeline:

•   Lion Bioscience (Nasdaq: LEON), Heidelberg, Germany: To raise more than $190 million on Frankfurt’s Neuer Markt and the Nasdaq. IPO postponed due to Nasdaq backlog, company said.

•   Compugen (Nasdaq: CGEN), Tel Aviv, Israel: To offer 5 million of its shares at a proposed price of $10 to $12 a share.

•   InforMax (Nasdaq: INMX), Rockville, Md: Seeks to raise $75 million.

•   NetGenics (Nasdaq: NTGC), Cleveland, Ohio: To offer 5.5 million shares at a proposed price of $11 to $13 a share. 

•   Genomica (Nasdaq: GNOM), Boulder, Colo.: To offer 6.9 million shares at a proposed price of $15 to $17 a share. 

•   Third Wave Technologies (Nasdaq: TWTI), Madison, Wis.: Plans to raise $100 million.

­­—Aaron J. Sender

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