Trailing indicator

Biotech somehow still is managing to avoid the hammering put on the broader NASDAQ market. Although the BioCentury 100 is down 4 percent over the last two weeks and stands down 19 percent since the Nov. 7 U.S. presidential election, the NASDAQ Composite has fared worse, tumbling 13 percent over the last two weeks and off 23 percent since the election.

Encouraging trends were seen on Friday, as technology bargain-hunters drove the BioCentury 100 up 4.3 percent on the day.

U.K investors, unencumbered by the Thanksgiving holiday and election snaufu in the U.S., provided a 7 percent bounce to the BioCentury London Index last week, although the U.K indicator is still down 9 percent the past two weeks.

Market hopefuls

Despite the turbulent markets, three companies threw their hats into the IPO ring during the holiday period, hoping to raise up to $275 million in aggregate. diaDexus, which is discovering genetic biomarkers associated with disease, filed to raise up to $100 million. The company is a joint venture between SmithKline Beecham (LSE:SB; SBH) and Incyte (INCY), which now own 21.1 percent and 19.8 percent, respectively. American Express affiliates own 10.7 percent, and Banc of American Venture affiliates own 7 percent (see B29).

Seattle Genetics filed to raise up to $75 million. The company develops monoclonal antibody-based products to treat cancer. Last week the company began a U.S. Phase II trial of its SGN-15 (BR96) MAb against the Lewis Y antigen that is chemically linked to doxorubicin, in combination with Aventis' Taxotere docetaxel chemotherapeutic, to treat hormone refractory prostate cancer. SGN-15 also is in Phase II testing in combination with Taxotere to treat breast and colorectal cancer. Partner Genentech (DNA) is expected to participate in the offering. A group of VCs - including OVP Venture Partners, Cascade Investments, Vulcan Ventures, Sofinnova, Indosuez and BAVP -own 70.2 percent of the company (see B29).

CombiMatrix, a producer of biological array processors, filed to raise up to $100 million. Acacia Research (ACRI), which formed CombiMatrix in 1995, now owns 58 percent

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