By Mary Welch

Invitrogen Corp. completed one of the few biotechnology-related initial public offerings of late through the sale of 3.5 million shares at $15 each, an IPO that grossed $52.5 million.

Invitrogen, of Carlsbad, Calif., raised $45 million through the sale of 3 million of those shares. Three selling stockholders sold the other 500,000 shares.

Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp., of New York, was the lead manager for the offering. Co-mangers were Warburg, Dillon, Read LLC, of New York, and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, of Minneapolis.

The stock trades on NASDAQ under the symbol IVGN. It closed up 37.5 cents Friday at $15.375.

The company filed for the offering in December. It had proposed the sale of 3 million shares at $15 apiece, which it got.

Invitrogen, which develops, manufactures and sells products and services for molecular biology research, plans to use the proceeds to redeem outstanding preferred stock; redeem the common stock of its subsidiary, Invitrogen BV, of Groningen, the Netherlands; and proceed with product development. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 14, 1998, p. 1.)

The company, which has about 225 employees, markets in more than 30 countries, with international sales accounting for more than one-third of all product revenues.

In August, Invitrogen launched the human version of its Gene Storm product line, with more than 500 expression-ready human gene clones available. Invitrogen provides the human genes in a mammalian expression vector, ready for use in experimentation. All of the constructs have been tested to show that they produce the proteins they code for, and all come with the full sequence. The product is designed to facilitate the drug-discovery efforts of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as academic research activities. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 12, 1998, p. 1.)

Last year, Invitrogen established a new division for functional genomics studies that it expects will add $20 million to its bottom line by the end of 1999. The division, Invitrogenomics, will use the gene cloning and expression technologies to jump into the genomics field itself. The company, along with collaborative partners, intends to use its technology for drug discovery, diagnostic development and crop-enhancement purposes. (See BioWorld Today, June 11, 1998, p. 1.) n