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12:00 AM
Nov 04, 2002
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

Thinking outside the IPO box

With the biotech bear market approaching its three-year anniversary, liquidity events are more associated with a round of cocktails than IPOs. So attendees weren't surprised at the downbeat tenor of a panel's assessment of biotech's liquidity prospects for 2003 at the National Conference on Biotechnology Ventures put on by Oxford Bioscience Partners and Ernst & Young.

Last week's panel - moderated by E&Y's Mike Hildreth and including Lehman Vice Chairman Fred Frank; MPM's Kurt von Emster and Pacific Growth CEO Rick Osgood - generally hewed to the widely held belief that 2003 will not be a banner year for biotech IPOs.

The group also underscored the need to look at other avenues to liquidity and financing - namely M&A and big pharma. "Too many CEOs are focused on the big ticket IPO event, but you've got to have a plan B and plan C," said von Emster.

The group also agreed that M&A should happen, but couldn't agree on the "how much" and "when" questions.

Osgood argued that the time is nigh for M&A because the public market is assigning little or...

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