Biotech IPOs struggling as one is pulled and another falls short

Anyone in biotech feeling a burst of optimism over recent signs that investors are finally regaining an appetite for IPOs may want to take an extra minute this morning to evaluate fresh signs of market trouble for the life sciences crowd.

Ikaria, a 2005 Fierce 15 company with some impressive technology developed at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, had first slashed the value of its $200 million IPO and then shelved it, with Goldman Sachs telling Dow Jones that the offering was being withdrawn due to market conditions. Complete Genomics, meanwhile, priced its IPO at $9, well under the $12 to $14 range that it aspired to. Shares opened at $8.90 and swiftly fell to $7.73.

Last month a raft of new IPOs--the biggest one-month surge seen in the last three years--appeared to signal that investors were at least developing a lukewarm attachment to new offerings. But classic biotechs which are long on red ink and risk and short on near-term revenue prospects are finding that investors are still quick to turn a cold shoulder to the industry's most promising players.

- see the Dow Jones report on Ikaria
- check out the San Jose Business Journal report on Complete Genomics

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