BG Medicine Pulls IPO

1/24/08

If it happens once more we’re going to have to call it a trend. Waltham, MA-based molecular diagnostic firm BG Medicine has pulled its planned IPO. The move comes fast on the heels of Cambridge, MA-based Elixir Pharmaceuticals’ decision a week ago to postpone its own offering indefinitely, setting an ominous precedent for Boston-area life sciences offerings in 2008.

Elixir gave no reason for its delay, but in a filing with the SEC made yesterday BG Medicine cited “unfavorable market conditions that would adversely affect the offering.” The company also said in the filing that it might undertake a future private offering.

Founded in 2000 as Beyond Genomics, BG Medicine has raised $52.1 million in financing since its inception, according to recent SEC filings. The firm’s largest investor is Flagship Ventures (Flagship and its affiliates own 57.5 percent of BG stock); strategic partner Philips Electronics holds an 8 percent stake.

The firm is developing novel diagnostic tools based on biomarkers—molecular signals of disease, response to treatment, and so forth that can be detected in blood, urine, and other fluids and tissues. Biomarker companies have been experiencing an upswing recently, but it has been a steady march downhill for this IPO.

BG Medicine originally filed for the offering in August. At the time, the plan was to raise up to $80 million in the IPO, and to trade on Euronext Amsterdam under the symbol “BGMDX.” (The firm’s CEO, its scientific founder, and several of its advisory board members are Dutch.) The company subsequently set a target range of $14 to $16 per share for 4.5 million shares, and decided to aim for the NASDAQ Global Market instead of the Dutch exchange. But in early December it dropped its price range to $8 to $10 per share. The day before Christmas, after failing to gather enough investor interest according to a report in the Boston Globe, it delayed the offering.

Yesterday’s withdrawal of BG Medicine leaves only two more local biomedical firms on the list of planned IPOs: Andover, MA’s TransMedics, which filed in September for an offering of up to $86 million, and Cambridge, MA-based Archemix, which filed for a $69 million offering back in July. We’ll be keeping our eyes on those deals.

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