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Genomica: The Next Wave in Biotech

The genomics industry has been red hot, especially with the recent decoding of the human genome. Basically, genomics deals with genes and how they relate to diseases. The promise is that genomics will offer a way for the creation of drugs to cure intractable diseases. The next step is to make sense of the complex genetic relationships of the human genome.

Of course, there are many companies that are advancing solutions. In fact, the industry is known as bioinformatics.

One of the top companies in the industry is Genomica. The company plans to go public this week. The lead underwriter is CIBC World Markets and the price range is $16-$18 (the company plans to issue 5 million shares). The proposed ticker symbol is GNOM.

The public and private genomic databases have tens of billions of DNA sequences. Obviously, analyzing the information requires sophisticated technology solutions.

But there are many challenges. First of all, thousands of scientists across the globe are analyzing genetic information, yet the classification systems are often non-standard, as are the technology tools. Next, there is a short supply of talented scientists in the genomics industry. Finally, it is extremely difficult to provide for effective vizualization of large quantities of genomic information.

As for Genomica, it has developed a product called the Discovery Manager. In fact, it is the result of 15 years of hard work of the company's chief scientist.

The software is an integrated package of tools and database templates. Scientist can engage in more effective research - with their own data, as well as public data sources.

The company has been able to grab such customers as Astra Zeneca, GlaxoWellcome, Oxagen Limited, Warner-Lambert and the National Cancer Institute. Then again, these organizations account for 86% of Genomica's revenues. What's more, the revenue base is still small. For 1999, the total revenues were $781,000. As for the first six months of 2000, revenues reached $766,000. Losses were $23.3 million.

Yet, keep in mind that the bioinformatics industry is in the incipient stage and is expected to explode. So by attracting top customers early, Genomica is in excellent position to become a dominant player.