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Genomics Sector Gets IPO Fever Big Time


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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