According to a leading biotechnology analyst, the IPO window,currently shut to biotechnology offerings, will not open anytime soon.

"Public offerings raised $1.5 billion in the first five months of1992 but could not raise a dime today," said G. Steven Burrill,the head of the high-technology group at the accounting firm ofErnst & Young. He anticipates "no good product announcementnews in the next six to eight months" and foresees the nextcrack in the IPO window in late 1993.

Burrill opened the ninth quadrennial InternationalBiotechnology Seminar in Crystal City, Va. The theme of thisyear's conference is "Harnessing Biotechnology for the 21stCentury."

Burrill previewed some broader trends that will be reviewed indetail in "Biotechnology '93 H Accelerating Commercialization,"an annual industry survey to be released Sept. 22. Burrill saidthe number of biotechnology companies in the U.S. grew from1,107 to 1,231 and the number of its workers increased from70,000 to 79,000.

Despite the anti-recessionary growth of the industry, however,the U.S. government is "hostile to biotechnology," Burrill said."Its rhetoric is not matched by reality."

Japan, he warned, "has set its national priorities to dominatebiotechnology by 2000 A.D. In that country, the public andprivate sectors are on the same side."

Burrill also noted an increase in capitalization and a shift in thetop biotechnology companies in the past decade. In 1983, theindustry's Big Four were Genentech Inc., Cetus Corp., BiogenInc. and Genex Corp., with total market capitalization of $1.1billion. Today, they are Amgen Inc., Genentech, Chiron Corp.and Centocor, with combined equity value of $17.4 billion.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.