The first quarter of 1991 isn't yet ended, and already initialpublic offerings and secondary offerings tracked by BioWorldhave raised $479.4 million, more than the $453.3 million raisedin all of 1990.

Waiting in the wings is another $435.5 million worth of IPOsand secondary offerings that have been filed but have not yetbeen sold.

Last week's adverse earnings news from companies such asIBM, which sparked fears that the recession may not be oversoon, failed to dampen the enthusiasm for biotech stocks.

Two companies last week completed public offerings that wereoversubscribed. Genzyme Corp. (NASDAQ:GENZ) of Cambridge,Mass., on Friday sold 3.5 million shares at $35.50 per share,raising $124.25 million, less underwriting fees. That was500,000 more shares than the company originally planned tosell.

Gensia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:GNSA) of San Diego lastThursday sold 2.3 million shares, up from a proposed 2 million,priced at $14.50, grossing $33.4 million. A third company,Chiron Corp., earlier this month completed an oversubscribedoffering of 2 million shares, 350,000 shares more than it hadplanned.

The additional shares were worth $42 million to the threecompanies.

The latest entry into the market is Vestar Inc. (NASDAQ:VSTR)of San Dimas, Calif., which on Friday filed an offering for 2million shares of common stock. Vestar stock closed on Fridayat $6.75. The underwriter is Alex. Brown & Sons Inc. Proceedsare to be used primarily to commercialize the company's firsttwo therapeutic products.

The next large group of offerings will be initial public offerings,said Jim McCamant, editor of the Medical Technology StockLetter of Berkeley, Calif.

"It's the inevitable consequence of satisfying the market forsecondaries," he said. "If you want to know if things are gettingout of hand, look at Icos, which barely has its equipment set upin the lab."

Seattle-based Icos Corp. set up shop last spring, raising $33million. There have been rumors on Wall Street for weeks thatthe company plans to file an IPO. Word on the Street is that atleast six or eight other companies are considering IPOs.


Original Shares Share Additional

shares added Price capital raised

Gensia 2M 300,000 $14.50 $4.35M

Genzyme 3M 500,000 $35.50 $17.75M

Chiron 1.65M 350,000 $57.50 $20.13M

Increased demand for shares in three March public offeringshelped the companies raise a total of $272.5 million.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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