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Exelixis

(EXEL) - Get Exelixis, Inc. Report

, a biotechnology company that hopes to cash in on the mapping of the human gene, jumped 19% in its debut.

The South San Francisco, Calif.-based company is part of a well-timed throng of genomics businesses that are coming public in the final stage of the mapping of the human gene.

Shares of Exelixis rose 2 1/2 to 15 1/2 in its first hours of trading after reaching a high of 19. (Exelixis closed up 2 3/16, or 17%, at 15 3/16).

Pre-market demand for the stock helped push the company's initial offering price up to $13 from the prior range of $10 to $12.

Goldman Sachs

led the underwriters in offering 9.1 million shares for $13 apiece and raising $118 million for the company.

Exelixis is a leader in the fields of model system genetics and comparative genomics. These areas involve the systematic study of simple organisms like fruit flies, mice, zebrafish and plants to rapidly determine a gene's function and develop any commercial for use in humans, insects and plants.

The young company has strong collaborative relationships with

Bayer

to develop insecticides,

Pharmacia

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(MCT:NYSE) for Alzheimer's and diabetes drugs and

Bristol-Myers Squibb

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to identify the action mechanism in certain compounds.

These relationships enable Exelixis to receive royalties on all products that make it to market, according to its registration statement with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

.

Total revenues increased more than fourfold to $10.5 million in 1999 from $2.3 million the year before. Losses increased to $18.7 million from $15.7 million over the same period. Exelixis committed $21.7 million to research and development in 1999, up from $12.1 million in 1998.

The major investors include

Atlas Venture

, with 9.4% of the outstanding shares, and

Oxford Bioscience Partners

and Pharmacia with about 5% ownership each.