Cortech Inc. has decided to brave the markets for biotechnology stocks by filing for a secondary stock offering.

The Denver company announced Monday that it has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a public offering of 2 million shares of common stock (NASDAQ:CRTQ). Underwriters Montgomery Securities and Hambrecht & Quist Inc. have an option to purchase up to an additional 300,000 shares to cover any overallotments.

Cortech, which is developing drugs to treat a broad range of inflammatory and immune disorders, grossed $32 million in its initial public offering (IPO) in November 1992. This is the first time the company has sought funds from either public or private sources since then.

As of June 30, Cortech had $34.6 million in cash and short-term investments and slightly more than 14 million shares outstanding, according to Joseph Turner, the biopharmaceutical company's chief financial officer. The stock lost $1.13 per share on Monday, closing at $15.63.

Although the public markets are still chilly for biotechnology, at least they aren't frozen solid; two companies have actually completed initial public offerings this month. Innovir Laboratories Inc. of New York reaped $9.4 million in an IPO it completed on Sept. 14, and Neurex Corp. grossed $16.5 million on the long-awaited close of its IPO on Sept. 24.

Moreover, one company has gone on to complete a secondary offering in September. Embrex Inc. (NASDAQ:EMBX) of Research Triangle Park, N.C., announced on Sept. 3 that it had netted $10.8 million from its secondary. And another company, InSite Vision Inc. of Alameda, Calif., on Sept. 16 filed for an IPO of 3 million shares at $10 to $12 each.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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