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Market Holds Warm Reception for Three IPOs

Investors are jumping on new issues from FirePond, ThermaWave and Antigenics.

Enthusiasm for


(FIRE:Nasdaq) exploded Friday, as the stock quadrupled in its first day of trading.

Not far from the day's epicenter of IPO emotion were new issues


(TWAV:Nasdaq), which climbed 85%, and


(AGEN) - Get Agenus Inc. Report

, a biotechnology company that more than doubled.

FirePond promptly ran up 67 points to 89 by early afternoon Friday, as investors scrambled to get a piece of the hot e-business market. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., develops software that enables businesses to conduct Internet-based sales and marketing with their customers and other businesses.

The initial public offering of 5 million shares brought in $110 million for FirePond and lead underwriter

Robertson Stephens

. The company had originally thought it would offer the stock for about $12, but nearly doubled the price to $22 as premarket demand among investment firms grew.

FirePond's customers include

General Motors

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Semiconductor investors warmed to ThermaWave Friday, bidding its stock up 17 points to 37 in early afternoon trading. The company, based in Fremont, Calif., develops systems that detect flaws in semiconductor manufacturing.

ThermaWave priced its initial offering price at $20, above the initial range of $15 to $17. Together with the help of lead underwriter

Banc of America Securities

, ThermaWave raised $180 million from the sale of 9 million shares.

Unlike most other newborn companies in the initial public offering market, ThermaWave was founded 18 years ago and reported a profit as of its last filing period.


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accounts for almost a quarter of ThermaWave's revenue. Other customers include

Advanced Micro Devices

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Bain Capital

owns about 60% of the company.

ThermaWave has sold products to more than 70 semiconductor manufacturers in 14 different countries, according to its filing with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

. It is currently involved in four lawsuits against rival KLA-Tencor regarding patent protections of its thin-film-thickness measuring technology and optical measurement systems.

Antigenics followed the path of fantastically successful biotechnology IPO



and ran up 27 points to 45 in early afternoon trading. The $18-a-share initial offering price had been raised from an original range of $14 to $16.

The New York-based company is a biotechnology company with immunotherapeutic vaccines in early phases of clinical trials for renal cell carcinoma, melanoma and gastric and colorectal cancers. The vaccines are based on technology that the company calls heat shock proteins, the body's natural proteins, to regulate the immune system.

Shepherded by lead underwriter

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray

, Antigenics raised $63 million through the sale of 3.5 million shares.