Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Early Biotechnology IPOs Led to Greater Growth

As one of the first physician analysts on Wall Street, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald came to the biotechnology marketplace with a strong understanding of what would benefit medicine in general and secure profits at the same time. Entering the world of biotechnology investment in the mid-1980s, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald built upon a precedent largely set by Genentech, SmithKline, and other innovative biotech firms 10 years earlier.

With SmithKline’s development of Tagamet (the first-ever “blockbuster drug” with $1 billion in annual revenue) and Genentech’s advances in rDNA technology, the mid-1970s proved a fertile ground for the nascent biotech sector. When Genentech launched a highly successful initial public offering in 1980, opening itself to investment on Wall Street became the next logical step for innovators in the life sciences, followed by other, early IPOs Cetus, Applied Biosystems, and Amgen. At the same time, much larger pharmaceutical companies began acquiring promising biotech firms that had yet to go public, creating multiple pathways for these new drug developers to grow and expand.

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