Tularik (TLRK) priced its keenly watched IPO on Friday, raising $97.3 million through the sale of 6.95 million shares at $14. The deal did not disappoint on any fronts: the share number was upped by 700,000, it priced $1 above the high end of its range, and the shares were bid up $6.125 (44 percent) to $20.125 on the company's first trading day, valuing the company at $846.5 million (see B17). TLRK traded 4.6 million shares on Friday.

Comps in TLRK's valuation range include seasoned companies like Protein Design Labs (PDLI, $915 million), ImClone (IMCL, $875 million), Incyte (INCY, $819 million) and Transkaryotic (TKTX, $808 million). PDLI has an FDA-approved product on the market, INCY has a mature revenue stream from sales of its genomic databases, while IMCL and TKTX each have programs in Phase III development. By comparsion, TLRK has one in-licensed product in the clinic, its lometrexol for cancer, which is expected to enter Phase II next year. Meanwhile, its core gene regulation technology is in preclinical development.

PharmaVision 2000, TLRK's largest investor, invested $22.9 million in the IPO to maintain its 23.5 percent stake (now 9.9 million shares after adding 1.6 million shares in the deal), which is now valued at $199 million. It had been rumored that PharmaVision was prepared to pick up as much as $30 million of the flotation.

It remains to be seen whether TLRK will provide long coattails to the biotech IPO market. Lab-on-a-chip company Caliper (Proposed:CLPR) is hoping to price its IPO early this week. The company, which filed in October to raise up to $60 million, just wound up a two-and-a-half week road show in New York on Friday.

Wayne Rothbaum, partner at The Carson Group, believes TLRK and the CLPR deal will open the funding tap because money managers are looking for fresh paper. "Institutions are looking for a new supply of names and ideas," he said. "It's a supply issue because there's no paper out there." He's also encouraged by the extended retail support of the sector, which has tended to wax and wane with greater frequency in past markets.

Others in the IPO queue include Maxygen, a DNA shuffling company that hopes to raise $60 million; genomics play Sequenom, which has filed to raise up to $70 million; and heat shock protein developer Antigenics, which is looking to raise up to $46 million.