West Coast Editor

To continue work on its substantial pipeline of drugs targeting G protein-coupled receptors and ion channels, Predix Pharmaceuticals Inc. filed an initial public offering that would raise as much as $70 million.

A spokeswoman said company officials at Lexington, Mass.-based Predix were in a quiet period and could not comment, but a prospectus related to the IPO said the firm, which hopes to trade on Nasdaq under the symbol "PRDX," has as its lead product PRX-00023, which finished a Phase II trial against generalized anxiety disorder in July. The company plans to start screening patients for the first of at least two pivotal Phase III studies this month.

Predix's two other clinical-stage candidates are PRX-03140, a selective serotonin 4 (5-HT4) receptor agonist for Alzheimer's disease, and PRX-08066 for pulmonary arterial hypertension, both in Phase I. The firm started the second of two Phase Ib studies of PRX-03140 last month. Trials with PRX-08066, a 5-HT2B receptor antagonist, started in May.

In March, Predix said it was getting up to $12.5 million through Predix Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation over a three-year period for work that will include two programs. The first is focused on the defective cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator protein, and the mutated gene that produces it is one of the key factors that leads to symptoms, complications and premature mortality. Predix is using its Predict technology to model the structure of the ion channel and then identify sites in the channel for therapeutic intervention to discover a drug that restores function. (See BioWorld Today, March 17, 2005.)

The second program is using the same method, which features GPCR modeling and optimization, to come up with a small-molecule agonist to P2Y(2) to treat the disease. P2Y(2) receptor agonists help expel chloride from cells using a channel that bypasses the CFTR defect, and getting the chloride out would go a long way toward restoring proper salt and water balance in the cells.

At the start of the year, Predix raised $43 million in its third private financing round. As of June 30, the company had about $20.1 million in cash and cash equivalents. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 26, 2005.)

Proceeds from the IPO would be used to advance the portfolio and for general corporate purposes, though Predix's prospectus did not break down the spending.

A handful of New York-based banks are helping with the offering. UBS Investment Bank will be acting as the sole book-running manager. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. will be a co-lead manager and CIBC World Markets Corp. and ThinkEquity Partners LLC will be co-managers.

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