Monday, January 31, 2000
The dike has given way, as 13 biotech financings closed last week, raising $652 million. The industry has raised $1.5 billion in the first four weeks of 2000. Although the torrent can't be sustained - it otherwise would track out to $19.5 billion for the year - the best-ever $7.6 billion in 1996 and last year's $7.4 billion could be in jeopardy.
Indeed, 11 proposed financings were added to the queue last week, including two more IPOs, promising to add close to $1 billion to the total.
Last week's tally included the industry's second largest follow-on
since 1994, a $235.2 million financing for genomics play Gene Logic (GLGC).
Biovail (BVF; TSE:BVF) had raised $255 million in a follow-on last October.
But both GLGC and BVF will get knocked down a peg if Abgenix (ABGX) sells its
proposed 1.8 million-share follow-on at its $163 price prior to filing, which
would raise $293.4 million for the antibody company.
The other big transactions last week were two convertible note
deals that raised Human Genome (HGSI) and CuraGen (CRGN) $150 million and $125
Although the BioCentury 100 index fell 11 percent last week,
the indicator is still up 26 percent on the year. The looming question is when
the new paper will sate investor demand. Judging by the aftermarket performance
of recent IPOs and follow-ons, there appears to be enough money - for now -
to buy new deals and support the shares going forward. Of the 8 IPOs and 20
follow-ons underwritten since Sept. 30, only one is underwater. The exception
is BioCryst (BCRX), which fell $6.75 (24 percent) on Jan. 7 to $21.6235 on investor
disappointment that partner Johnson & Johnson had not yet started Phase
III trials of the company's influenza neuraminidase inhibitor.
IPOs have been especially rewarding
in the aftermarket. The IPO group is led by lab-on-a-chip play Caliper (CALP),
which is up $109.25 (683 percent) to $125.25. The "trailer" is the French nitric
oxide company NicOx (NM:Nicox), which has merely doubled, adding E19.95
(see Milestone Watch, below).