3 Biotechnology Firms See Mixed IPO Results

Times Staff Writer

Genitope Corp. shares closed higher and CancerVax Corp. shares were unchanged on their first day of trading Thursday.

The California biotechnology companies were priced at the low end of their ranges, a sign that investors remain wary of new biotech issues.

Still, Genitope and CancerVax had a better debut than other biotechs that had gone public this year and now trade below their original offering prices.

“By coming in at the low end, they left a little upside for investors,” John McCamant, an editor at the Medical Technology Stock Letter in Berkeley, said of Genitope and CancerVax.


Genitope, based in Redwood City, closed at $10, up $1 for the day on Nasdaq. The company, which is developing a vaccine for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, went public through an auction system in which its underwriters took bids and set a price.

Genitope had hoped to sell 4.6 million shares at $9 to $13 a share, but actually sold 3.7 million shares.

CancerVax, based in Carlsbad, closed unchanged at $12 on Nasdaq after selling 6 million shares. The company, which is working on a melanoma vaccine, expected to sell the shares at $12 to $14 each.

Genitope and CancerVax each have compiled large losses, and neither firm has an approved drug on the market.

A third biotech company that went public Thursday, Myogen of Westminster, Colo., closed at $14.90, up 90 cents on Nasdaq. Its offering of 5 million shares was priced at $14, the low end of its $14 to $16 range.

Myogen differed from the other two companies in that it has product revenue from a drug, Perfan I.V., which is sold in Europe.