MannKind Corp. took one giant step for itself in pricing an initial public offering worth $87.5 million, within its expected range - a rare feat in these biotech times.

The Valencia, Calif.-based company sold 6.25 million common shares at $14 apiece in a transaction that involved more shares than originally intended. Preliminary plans called for the sale of 5.5 million shares at a range between $13 and $15.

In comparison, nearly all of the prior 24 U.S.-based IPOs in the biotech industry this year sold below original projections.

On its first day on the market, MannKind's stock climbed 8 cents Wednesday on volume of more than 4 million to close at $14.08. The stock is trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol "MNKD."

MannKind granted its underwriters a 30-day overallotment option to purchase up to 937,500 shares. UBS Securities LLC is acting as the sole book-running manager, with Piper Jaffray & Co. as co-lead manager. Co-managers include Wachovia Capital Markets, Jefferies & Co. and Harris Nesbitt. All are in New York.

Upon registering for the IPO nearly three months ago, MannKind said it would use a portion of the proceeds to continue developing its lead product, the Technosphere Insulin System, which is in Phase II trials for diabetes. The system consists of the company's dry-powder Technosphere formulation of insulin and its MedTone inhaler, through which the powder is inhaled into the lung.

The company also plans to apply the funds toward future commercialization efforts for Technosphere, such as increasing manufacturing operations. It also plans to use the proceeds to finance general operations and expand other product development programs for cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. (See BioWorld Today, May 4, 2004.)

Earlier in the spring, MannKind raised $50 million in a Series C financing. It had about $55.9 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of Dec. 31. (See BioWorld Today, March 15, 2004.)

Incorporated in early 1991 as Pharmaceutical Discovery Corp., the company later that year changed its name to MannKind following a merger of its wholly owned subsidiaries with two other companies, AlleCure Corp. and CTL Immunotherapies. At the end of 2002, AlleCure and CTL merged with and into MannKind and ceased to be separate entities.

Nearly a dozen other biotech companies remain in the IPO queue.

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