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Confident of Market Turnaround, MDS Proteomics Plans IPO for 2002

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MDS Proteomics plans to go through with an initial public offering next year to acquire additional funding, the company’s new CFO said last week.

Anil Amlani, who joined Toronto-based MDS Proteomics six weeks ago, predicted that the market for biotech IPOs will open up by the middle of 2002 because “there is so much value in the [biotech] industry, particularly in proteomics.” The company has said publicly since March that it hopes to launch an IPO upon the return of favorable market conditions.

Although analysts’ opinions vary, the prevailing assumption is that the capital markets are unlikely to look favorably towards IPOs for at least another 12 months.

At a burn rate of about $49 million a year, MDS Proteomics has funding that will carry the company at least through the third quarter of 2002, Amlani said. “We can stretch [that money] through to the end of the year if we take certain steps within the company,” he said.

Barring a successful IPO, Amlani said MDS Proteomics has the option of pursuing capital in the private markets, and also hopes to increase its licensing and milestone revenue from collaborations with biotech and pharma partners. In May, the company announced a partnership with Abgenix, under which MDS Proteomics would provide up to 150 protein targets in exchange for a $15 million equity investment and subsequent milestone and royalty payments.

MDS Proteomics has begun delivering targets to Abgenix, although Amlani declined to disclose the exact number.

Amlani joined MDS Proteomics from Canadian Satellite Communications, where he served as senior vice president and CFO. Before that, Amlani ascended the corporate ladder at AT&T Canada, where he spent 18 years in various management roles. He will report to CEO Frank Gleeson.

— JSM

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