REHOVOT, Israel - XTL Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has proved the old adage that timing is everything. In May, the company decided to postpone a public offering. In August, it completed a $17 million private placement for 17.6 percent of its shares, raising its collective value to $114 million. Last week, XTL grazed in the initial public offering (IPO) pasture - and more than just the grass was green.

Some 20.9 million XTL shares were issued on the London Stock Exchange at #1.50, raising #31.5 million (US$44 million), mostly from large institutional investors. That raised the company value to $230 million. So the holdings of the investors in the August private placement doubled their value within a single month.

The IPO, led by London-based WestLB Panmure, gives the investment bank a 30-day option to acquire another $6 million of XTL, about 2.9 million shares at the offering price. XTL shares began trading on the main London exchange Tuesday under the symbol XTL.

XTL, which is based at the Weizmann Science Park, was established in 1993 and employs 55. It develops human antibodies for viral diseases.

Martin Becker, CEO, said, "XTL's market value reflects on our operations and the global biotechnology market's positive situation." He noted that XTL had recently reached six cooperation agreements with international companies for developing drugs on the basis of its Trimera technology.

"The new wave of issues in biotechnology definitely heralds a rosy future for a nascent industry," Becker said. "I'm glad we're among the first to contribute to the sector's progress, because I believe there's a huge potential here and . . . [it] will continue to grow for decades into the future."

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