Monday, February 12, 2001
What a difference a year makes. Anticipation of this week's pending publication of the human genetic code in both Nature and Science generated about as much energy on Wall Street as the California power system. Seven of the 10 genomic stocks tracked by BioCentury traded down last week, sending the aggregate value of the group down $469 million (4 percent) to $11.7 billion. Indeed, investors have been increasingly tiring of the genomics story. Since the Clinton/Blair comments about the patentability of genes last March 14, the group has seen its aggregate value tumble $21.1 billion (64 percent) as the market has turned its attention to product stories and downstream technology (see "Finish or Starting Line?"). The group is down $9.1 billion (44 percent) since publication of the initial draft of the map last June.
The lack of investor enthusiasm hasn't dampened the spirits of the promoters. Nature was to hold a press conference today; and Celera (CRA), sibling Applied Biosystems (ABI) and computer company Compaq are holding a fete in San Francisco this Sunday "Celebrating the Launch of Discovery Around the World" according to the invitation (see Technology Briefing, A7).
A better deal
Third Wave (TWTI) raised $82.5 million in its IPO that priced at $11 on Friday, and closed its first day of trading at $11.063, valuing the pharmacogenetics company at $422.2 million. That's $91.6 million (28 percent) over the $331 million in stock Applied Biosystems (ABI) had offered to pay TWTI shareholders in its aborted merger proposal in January 2000 (see BioCentury Extra, Thursday May 25, 2000). The 3.94 million shares ABI would have issued for the takeout (adjusted for ABI's 2-for-1 split last February) are now worth $287.3 million.
TWTI sold 7.5 million shares at the low end of its range and pared back the number of shares by 1 million. The company, which markets its Invader technology to detect SNPs directly from genomic DNA, originally filed on July 31 to raise up to $100 million, then refiled on Sept. 12 to sell 8.5 million shares at $11-$13.