By Mary Welch

Two companies entered the initial public offering holding pen as both Genomics Solutions Inc. and Paradigm Genetics Inc. postponed their planned IPOs in the wake of the unpredictable market.

"We had hoped to go public this week, but are waiting to see what the market does," said Linda Marchant, director of marketing for Paradigm. "We're not withdrawing, we're more postponing the offering on a day-to-day basis. We're confident it will happen, but anybody who could predict what's going on in the market will make a fortune. It's all in the timing."

Genomic Solutions intended to raise $80 million to $90 million by selling 5 million shares at a price range of $16 to $18 per share.

The proceeds were to be used for working capital, as well as for general corporate purposes.

Warburg Dillon Read LLC, of New York, is the lead underwriter. Punk Ziegel & Co. LP, of New York, and Dain Rauscher Wessels, of Minneapolis, are co-managing underwriters. (See BioWorld Today, March 24, 2000, p. 1.)

Genomic Solutions, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., develops, manufactures and markets genomic and proteomic instrumentation, software, consumables and services. Its biochip products are used for large-scale gene expression analysis, and its proteomic products are used to isolate, identify and characterize proteins. The products and systems are designed to enable researchers to perform complex, high-volume experiments at lower costs and in less time than traditional techniques, the company said in its SEC filing.

Since 1997, the company has sold its products to more than 100 pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and private research institutions. Among its customers are Merck and Co. Inc., of Whitehouse Station, N.J.; Cambridge Antibody Technology Group, of Melbourn, UK; and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The customers use the systems to produce biochips, maintain DNA libraries, quantify gene expression levels and isolate, identify and characterize proteins.

Genomics Solutions reported 1999 revenues of $12 million and a net loss of $11.1 million. As of Dec. 31, it had $1.3 million in cash.

Paradigm Genetics, based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., intended to raise about $100 million. Chase H&Q LLC, of San Francisco; J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., of New York; Pacific Growth Equities Inc., of San Francisco; and Stephens Inc., of Little Rock, Ark., were the underwriters. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 23, 2000, p. 1.)

A functional genomics specialist, Paradigm is industrializing the process of identifying gene function in an attempt to develop novel products in crop production, nutrition, human health and industrial products.

Founded in September 1997 by executives from Research Triangle Park-based Novartis Crop Protection, a subsidiary of Novartis AG in Basel, Switzerland, Paradigm has developed its GeneFunction Factory to simultaneously study the functions of many genes in a number of selected organisms. The company studies the effects of altered forms of a gene on an organism and analyzes those effects using its bioinformatics system, FunctionFinder. The company initially is studying the function of genes in rice, six filamentous fungi and Arabidopsis, a model organism related to soybeans, cotton, vegetables and oil seed crop.

Paradigm signed a deal this year with Monsanto Co., of St. Louis, to develop crop production and nutrition products (see BioWorld Today, Jan. 25, 2000, p. 1). The company also signed a deal in September 1998 with Bayer AG, of Leverkusen, Germany, to find screening targets leading to new herbicides. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 3, 1998, p. 1.)

Its major shareholders include Polaris Venture Funds, with a 21.4 percent stake; Innotech Investments Ltd., with a 20.5 percent stake; Intersouth Partners, with a 19.2 percent stake; and the Burrill AgBio Capital Fund LP, with 9.6 percent.