RealTime IT News

IPOs on the Go

Not everyone in the IT industry is sitting on the edge of their seats for Google's Nasdaq debut. Several firms are moving ahead with IPOs rather than trying to divine the health of the market from the search darling's results.

Phase Forward , a maker of enterprise software for the pharmaceutical industry, went public this morning. Shares opened at $8.75, nearly 17 percent higher than the $7.50 offering price.

The seven-year-old company is selling 5.25 million shares and hopes to raise $34.6 million. The IPO is underwritten by Thomas Weisel Partners, Piper Jaffray & Co., and Raymond James & Associates.

The company will use net proceeds for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including sales and marketing, research and development, repayment of debt and possible acquisitions.

Phase Forward's prospects are more dependent on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry than traditional corporate customers. Its software is sold through multi-year licenses and is used to automate tasks in the clinical trial stage of research and development efforts. The firm also provides support and hosting services.

Phase Forward customers include AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Biogen Idec, Eli Lilly and Company, GlaxoSmithKline, Guidant, The Procter & Gamble Company, Schering-Plough Research Institute and Serono.

Although it's relatively small, Phase Forward has big competition. In addition to drug companies that have their own in-house software to handle clinical trials, niche consultants and systems integrators, the firm goes up against Oracle Clinical, a division of enterprise software giant Oracle .

In its IPO registration paperwork, Phase Forward said it "competes favorably" with rivals on product development, customer support and service delivery, but acknowledged that many "have greater name recognition, longer operating histories and significantly greater resources."

By going public, Phase Forward hopes to address that.

Other IT-related IPOs in the queue include Greenfield Online, a provider of Internet survey technology to the marketing research industry. The firm manages the Greenfield Online panel, a group of 1.7 million individuals who participate in surveys results.

Greenfield Online competes with other Internet-based marketing research data collection firms, including SPSS Service Bureau and Harris Interactive Service Bureau.

On the New York Stock Exchange, Freescale Semiconductor , which provides chips for the automotive, networking and wireless communications industries, is also preparing to go public.

Earlier this week Google said its shares would trade on the Nasdaq, not the NYSE, a vote of confidence for the tech-heavy market. In preliminary filings, the company said it hopes to raise up to $2.7 billion, however the price range of shares has not yet been set.