C'est la vie

Companies raising money in hot markets have to be willing to shrug their shoulders if they raise equity at one price and find out a bit later that they could have raised twice as much with half the dilution. The recent moves by United Therapeutics (UTHR) and Onyx (ONXX) illustrate the point.

UTHR brought in $80 million in a private placement on Dec. 22, when its stock was at $32. Last Tuesday, when the company announced the closing of the offering, it had hit $77. In hindsight, the company could have issued far fewer shares - 1.04 million versus 2.5 million - had it waited a few weeks. Or it might have been able to raise more money: $192.5 million if it had sold the 2.5 million shares at $77 rather than $32. UTHR, which has completed enrollment in a Phase III trial for its UT-15 synthetic prostacyclin analog in pulmonary hypertension, closed Friday at $76.25.

In a similar light, ONXX shot up $8.188 (74 percent) to $19.25 last week, with almost all of the gain coming after it announced on Wednesday an $18 million private deal that sold at $9 per share (see B12). At Friday's close, only 935,065 shares underlie the $18 million.

On the flip side, sometimes timing can be impeccable. Vical (VICL) raised $109.5 million in a follow-on, selling 3 million shares at $36.50. VICL's stock rose $16.375 (81 percent) over the course of the road show and the naked

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