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Biotech and medical technology companies are lining up for IPOs

As a private firm, Enanta was often overshadowed by public rivals, CEO Jay Luly said.
As a private firm, Enanta was often overshadowed by public rivals, CEO Jay Luly said.

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More than two dozen life sciences companies, including at least nine in Massachusetts, could go public this year, the biggest coming-out class since at least 2007 and a sign investors are excited about the prospects for new life-extending drugs and medical devices.

Initial public offerings have been rare in the life sciences sector since the economic collapse of 2008, but industry insiders say soaring financial markets have helped make it feasible for cash-starved start-ups to consider raising large amounts of money through the sale of stock.

That’s what Guy Macdonald, chief executive of TetraPhase Pharmaceuticals, was counting on when he took the Watertown company public in March. His gamble on an IPO paid off, generating nearly $75 million and assuring that seven-year-old TetraPhase will maintain its independence.

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