, the first of 10 biotech companies scheduled to go public in October, jumped on its first day of trading Wednesday.
The Watertown, Mass,-based company sold 3.75 million shares at $14 each, the midpoint of its proposed range, for $52.5 million. SG Cowen was the lead manager on the deal.
The shares were recently up $1.80, or 13%, to $15.80.
Acusphere is the first biotech IPO to hit the market since
in April 2002. And it may be a litmus test for the other IPOs that follow.
The Acusphere offering is almost certain to get a better reaction than DOV Pharmaceuticals did a year and a half ago. DOV plunged 33% on its first day of trading, as shareholders were suing the company and its underwriters for not telling investors sooner about a revision of its 1999 financial results.
Nevertheless, experts aren't sure how well Acusphere will do -- at least in the long run. "The stock may get a flush at the open," said David Menlow, president of IPOFinancial.com. "But I do not think the IPO market is ready for biotech deals."
The Acusphere offering follows a big rally in the sector. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index has risen 53% so far this year. "I think the group has already made its move," said Menlow.
Meanwhile, IPO investors are still nervous about companies that are unprofitable. According to its prospectus, Acusphere has a drug in phase III clinical development for the detection of coronary artery disease. But the company said it expects to incur operating losses for the next several years.