The biotech industry raised $917.6 million in the first week of May, nearly doubling the $592.5 million raised in all of April. But like fruit that dies on the vine, sometimes early indications can mask the health of the future harvest. Two convert note deals - $500 million from Genzyme (GENZ) and $300 million from Cephalon (CEPH) - accounted for about 90% of the take. Backing out those two deals would put last week's total at a mere $117.6 million.

It's hard to look past the fact that the underwritten business - follow-ons and IPOs - have all but gone away. The industry has yet to price a NASDAQ IPO or a follow-on this quarter. The last follow-on was a $162.5 million deal by metabolic company Regeneron (REGN), which went off largely because it found a sugar daddy - Ernesto Bertarelli, CEO of Serono (SWX:SEO; SRA) - to pick up 62% of the offering (see BioCentury, April 9). One has to go further back to find the last IPO: a trimmed back $49 million deal sold on March 7 by cancer play Seattle Genetics (SGEN).

Still, scuttlebutt was that diaDexus and DNA Sciences both kicked off their IPO road shows last week. diaDexus, which is translating genetic data into therapeutic and diagnostic products, is looking to raise $84-$98 million through the sale of 7 million shares at $12-$14. DNA Sciences, which analyzes DNA samples to identify genetic causes for disease susceptibility and progression, and response to drug treatment, is on file to raise up to $125 million.

Venture watch

Sofinnova Partners, which announced the close of its R

Private rounds

With all of the new venture money being raised, it's little surprise that large private equity financings continue to close. Fast Track Systems, a developer of clinical trial informatics systems, raised $30.1 million in its third venture round through Lombard Odier; Dow Chemical; State Farm; Arch Venture Partners; CW Group; Frazier & Co.; and Tredegar Investments . . . Genicon Sciences raised $27 million through Audax Ventures; CMEA Ventures; GIMV; Radius Health Ventures; Utah Ventures; Forward Ventures; and Oxford BioScience Partners. Genicon is developing its