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12:00 AM
Feb 02, 2004
 |  BioCentury  |  Finance

IPOs: Getting down to business

Market soothsayers who predicted that the "serious" IPO window wouldn't open until 2004 finally got what they wanted last week, when Eyetech Pharmaceuticals Inc. tossed a firecracker into the ring.

The ophthalmics company, the first of the high profile IPO candidates to go public in this window, on Thursday night priced 6.5 million shares at $21 - $1 above its $18-$20 range. Then the stock jumped 54% on its first day of trading on Friday, gaining $11.40 to $32.40 on 4.7 million shares.

The deal drew a clear divide from last fall's spate of IPOs, which market watchers largely wrote off as too early with too little to entice investors. The common wisdom was that the real window - if there is one - would not be tested until the first half of 2004.

With other high profile/later-stage candidates waiting in the wings - including Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Cambridge, Mass.), Corgentech Inc. (South San Francisco, Calif.) and GTx Inc. (Memphis, Tenn.) - it now may not take long to find out. "I'm hearing that five or six deals will be coming to market soon," said Wayne Rothbaum of Quogue Capital.

Indeed, men's health play GTx was teed up to price Monday night or Tuesday. Like EYET, GTx is later stage. Its Acapodene non-steroidal selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) is in a Phase III trial to treat complications caused by luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists in diseases such as osteoporosis, hot flashes and breast enlargement (gynecomastia). An interim analysis is slated for the first half of 2005.

The compound also is in Phase IIb testing to prevent prostate cancer in men with high grade prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). The company hopes to have data by October.

GTx is hoping to raise $70.2-$81 million through the sale of 5.4 million shares at $13-$15. A $14 price would value the company at $344.4 million. Underwriters are Goldman Sachs; SG Cowen; and Lazard.

Meanwhile, Cytokinetics Inc. (South San Francisco, Calif.) placed its bet that the...

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