Led by two strong IPOs, biotech companies last week claimed$223 million from the public offering market, indicating thatinvestor appetite for the stocks hasn't been sated despite thebroad sell-off just a week earlier.

Cytel Corp. on Friday said that it raised $52 million in a 4million-share initial public offering priced at $13 per share. Theoffering was increased by 1 million shares. Cytel(NASDAQ:CYTL) closed unchanged Friday at $13.88.

Earlier in the week, ImClone Systems Inc. brought in $35million in a 2.5 million-share IPO priced at $14. That offeringwas increased by 500,000 shares. ImClone (NASDAQ:IMCL)closed Friday at $14.25, up 25 cents.

"These two companies were among the top of the freshmanclass for this year," said Sutro & Co. analyst Margaret McGeorge."If we had a more robust market, they would have gone tosignificant premiums in the after market."

Cytel of San Diego, which is developing carbohydrate-basedtreatments for inflammatory conditions, has formedpartnerships with Sandoz Ltd. and Sumitomo.

"ImClone has a pretty compelling portfolio of products," saidMcGeorge. "The blockbuster is their totipotent stem cell growthfactor, which is in early stages but potentially could be theearliest hematopoietic factor on the market." The New Yorkcompany has also filed to begin clinical trials of its lead cancertherapeutic, BEC-2.

Coming on the heels of the market's tumble on Nov. 15, twostrong offerings in a row might bolster investor confidence. Butreasonable valuations are more important.

"Even a company that's not perceived as having a cutting-edgetechnology may have a valuation that would make it attractive,"McGeorge said. "Give me the valuation and I'll tell you if I'minterested."

ImmunoGen Inc. and Biogen Inc. completed secondary offeringslate last week. Immunogen on Friday sold 2 million sharespriced at $17 per share, raising $34 million. The Cambridge,Mass., company is developing toxins conjugated to monoclonalantibodies to treat cancer. In March, ImmunoGen raised $38million in a 2 million-share offering priced at $19. Thecompany's stock (NASDAQ:IMGN) closed Friday at $17, down 25cents.

Biogen, also of Cambridge, sold 2 million shares priced at $37late last Thursday, raising $74 million. Biogen stock(NASDAQ:BGEN) was off $1.88 on Friday, closing at $37.13.

On Monday, Liposome Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:LTIZ) raised$28.1 million in its secondary offering of 3 million shares at$9.38. It closed Friday at $9.63, down 38 cents.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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