2 medical firms say they will go public Move signals upturn in new-issue market

March 26, 1991|By Michael Dresser

In an indication of a rebound for the sluggish market for initial public offerings, two Montgomery County medical companies made separate announcements yesterday that they would go public.

The two firms, Gaithersburg-based Medimmune Inc. and Bethesda-based Hanger Orthopedic Group Inc., have little in common besides their home county and their medical orientation, but both are apparently taking advantage of what one analyst called an open "financing window" for initial public offerings.

"It's not nearly a normalized market," said Christian Stetkiewicz, associate editor of Going Public: The IPO Reporter, but he said eight IPO registrations filed last week were a "pretty healthy" sign that the moribund IPO market was bouncing back.

Health and biotechnology issues are leading the way, he said, but he expects the trend to broaden in coming weeks.

Medimmune's announcement said its offering -- to be co-managed by Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. and Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. -- is expected to be between $8.50 and $10 a share. It is expected to trade on the NASDAQ National Market system.

Founded in 1988, Medimmune goes on the market having already received FDA approval for its first product, a treatment for cytomegalovirus (CMV), a major cause of illness and death in patients with weakened immune systems resulting from organ transplants or acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Another product, now in testing, is intended to prevent or treat respiratory syncytial virus, a sometimes-fatal cause of bronchial disease and pneumonia.

Medimmune's chief executive officer, Dr. Wayne T. Hockmeyer, is a former director of immunology at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington.

Hanger Orthopedic Group said it had filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an offering of 2.5 million shares of common stock.

Hanger's stock will be listed the American Stock Exchange. PaineWebber Inc. is the managing underwriter for the offering.

Hanger operates 39 patient-care facilities around the country, including locations in Baltimore, Bethesda, Gaithersburg and Hagerstown, said Richard A. Stein, Hanger's vice president for finance.

"We believe it's a good time to be raising money through the equity markets," he said.

Hanger, with $19.3 million in sales for 1990, manufactures custom orthopedic devices and artificial limbs. "We're probably one of the largest providers of these patient-care services in the United States," Mr. Stein said.

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