'No dessert, thank you'

While the neon "All You Can Eat" sign remains lighted at the Biotech Café, U.S. investors now are pushing away from the table after one helping. The calorie counting is having a profound effect on follow-ons, while diners continue to gorge on hot IPOs. Last week's group of underwritten U.S. offerings - with the exception of a blockbuster IPO by Aclara (ACLA) and a robust flotation by InterMune (ITMN) - were met with tepid investor appetites.

Indeed, the four follow-ons sold last week left as much on the table as they tucked in their coffers. Maxygen (MAXY), Tularik (TLRK), Enzon (ENZN) and Diacrin (DRCN) raised $334.9 million in aggregate, but left $378.7 million on the table based on their prices before filing. That excludes the $808.8 million Roche left on the table through its secondary offering of 17.3 million shares of Genentech (DNA). Granted, Roche did raise $2.8 billion, but it could have raised $3.6 billion had the deal gone off at DNA's $209.75 price at filing (see BioCentury Extra, Friday March 24).

TLRK and MAXY were two of three recent IPOs looking to double-dip the market. The third company - combinatorial materials company Symyx (SMMX) - pulled its 1.25 million share follow-on after its stock had fallen $10.75 (19 percent) in the week it had been in registration. MAXY, which develops gene shuffling technology, did get its 1.5 million share deal out, raising $145.5 million by selling the shares at $97. But it could have raised $260.6 million had it sold the deal

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