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A weak start to IPO market in 2015

Initial public offerings had their slowest quarter since the beginning of 2013 in the first three months of 2015, according to an IPO investment firm.

Renaissance Capital said Tuesday that 34 companies went public from January to March, raising a combined $5.4 billion in stock sales. Although several well known brands including Shake Shack have gone public this quarter, the number of companies having their IPOs hit a two-year low and the value of the offerings was its lowest since the first quarter of 2011.

The health care sector accounted for nearly half of this quarter’s IPOs, but even that industry lagged its past performance, data from the Greenwich, Conn.-based investment adviser show. Biotech firms, which make up a large chunk of those that have gone public in recent months, have traded up less from their IPO price than last year, and the numbers look even worse when the Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics — whose stock price has more than tripled since its IPO — is taken out of the mix.


Two Massachusetts companies, Inotek Pharmaceuticals and Flex Pharma, have gone public this year, according to Renaissance, raising $126 million between them. In the first three months of last year, seven Bay State companies went public, raising $546 million.

Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow
him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.