Luminex Rises Despite Recent Drop in Biotech Sector

Sixty-three life sciences customers have purchased the technology that powers Luminex 100.
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Luminex

(LMNX) - Get Report

, a life sciences technology company, rose a relatively modest 43% in its first few hours of trading Thursday, despite a recent drop in the biotech sector.

Luminex gained 7 3/8, or 43%, to 24 3/8, following its initial public offering. (Luminex closed up 4 3/4, or 28%, at 22 7/8).

The Austin, Texas-based company raised $76.5 million by offering 4.5 million shares at $17 each. Luminex and lead underwriter

Warburg Dillon Read

set the initial price range relatively high for a new biotechnology issue, at $17 to $19, but then priced the offering at the bottom of the range.

President Bill Clinton

and

Prime Minister Tony Blair

of Britain announced earlier this month that the human genome mapping information would be freely distributed. Investors, unclear on how biotechnology companies plan to profit from newly mapped genes, sold off the sector in reaction to the statement.

The life sciences industry depends on a broad range of tests, called bioassays, to discover new drugs, identify new genes or just to monitor blood cholesterol levels. Luminex developed a system that simultaneously performs up to 100 bioassays on a single drop of fluid. Its flagship product, Luminex 100, uses lasers to read biological tests taking place on the surface of microscopic plastic beads called microspheres. This system helps pharmaceutical companies discover drugs faster, and it reduces costs in research and development.

Luminex's revenues rose to $3.1 million in 1999, from $386,000 in 1998. Its losses also increased to $12.6 million, or 96 cents a share, in 1999 compared with $5.6 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier.

Sixty-three life sciences customers have purchased 114 LabMAP systems, the technology that powers Luminex 100, as of Feb. 29. Customers include

Abbott Laboratories

(ABT) - Get Report

,

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

,

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

,

GlaxoWellcome

(GLX)

and

SmithKline Beecham

(SBH) - Get Report

Company officers own a total of about 46% of the outstanding shares.