Cellomics Inc. Pulls Plug On IPO

The biotech revolution isn’t standing still for a downed economy. If anything, it is on the cusp of some revolutionary discoveries and advances. Cellomics Inc., for example, is creating new cellular knowledge with products and services designed to enable drug discovery firms to rapidly narrow their searches to include only the compounds most likely to succeed in clinical trials.

And yet despite the promise, what is lacking in biotech is investor enthusiasm, which may account for the recent IPO withdrawal staged by the Pittsburgh-based venture-backed company.

Filed in March 2000, the proposed $60 million deal was underwritten by Prudential Vector Healthcare, now known as Prudential Securities. The offering was withdrawn last week after a lengthy battle. Cellomics looked close to pricing at the end of last year, but the deal was postponed on Dec. 21, 2000. At that time, bankers at Prudential had twice decreased the deal’s share price, originally set for $16 to $18, but to no avail. As of Oct. 30, 2001, when the deal was yanked, its price range stood at $8 to $10 a share.

Neither its underwriter nor Cellomics is talking about the withdrawal, nor the length of time the deal spent in the pipeline. One VC who declined to be named said, “Some felt the company would not get what it was worth in this type of market.”

According to VentureXpert, Cellomics has received $47.53 million in various stages of financing. Alta Partners, Burrill & Co., Delphi Ventures and Oxford Bioscience Partners are among its backers. As of September 2000, the company had a valuation of $120 million.

Colleen O’Connor can be contacted at:Colleen.Oconnor@tfn.com