12:00 AM
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Dec 22, 1997
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Limping

With the BioCentury 100 Price Level Index falling another 2 percent last week (it's down nearly 22 percent since early October), three IPOs fell victim to the soft market. Centocor Diagnostics, RTP Pharma, and Cerep all put their deals on ice. Illustrating the general malaise in biotech, each deal represented a different territory: Centocor Diagnostics was a NASDAQ deal, RTP was to price in Canada, and Cerep was in France's Nouveau Marche.

Centocor Diagnostics, which had hoped to raise up to $40 million, for the time being will remain a wholly owned subsidiary of Centocor Inc. (CNTO). Centocor Diagnostics sells monoclonal antibody-based diagnostics primarily for oncology and cardiovascular disease. RTP had hoped to raise C$25 million (US$17.6 million) in its Canadian IPO. The company develops formulations of drugs that are insoluble or poorly soluble in water.

BancAmerica Robertson Stephens decided to pull Cerep's offering even though bank officials said they were in a position to close the deal at the level they were seeking. But current market conditions - described as dire - raised fears that the aftermarket would be undermined. The high throughput screening company is expected to try to float again in the New Year, but it will probably unveil another collaboration first.

MARKET HOPEFUL: Despite these retreats, Nanogen (Proposed:NGEN) bravely charged into the IPO market, filing to sell up to $40 million. The company is developing semiconductor microchip technology for use in diagnostics, genomics, genetic testing and drug discovery. A group of VCs - including Enterprise Management Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sprout Group, Oracle Partners, and Interwest Partners - own 45.2 percent of the company prior to the IPO. In a private placement concurrent with the IPO, Nanogen hopes to sell $21 million worth of stock to partners Becton, Dickinson ($6 million),...

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