The IPO line keeps getting longer.

Critical Therapeutics Inc. registered Friday for its initial public offering, estimating proceeds of $103.5 million. Since late last summer, more than a dozen biotech companies have gone public, while the queue of those waiting to price grows.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Critical Therapeutics, which applied for listing on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol "CRTX," has yet to set the per-share price range for the offering, or the number of shares it plans to sell. It will offer all the shares.

But in its prospectus, the 28-employee company loosely outlined spending plans for any proceeds. It plans to apply the proceeds to the commercialization of its products, most notably the establishment of a sales force and manufacturing capabilities required to launch Zyflo (CTI-02), an immediate-release formulation of an FDA-approved asthma product called zileuton.

Critical Therapeutics licensed worldwide rights to the product from Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., as well as two other formulations of zileuton. The company expects to submit a new drug application for a controlled-release, twice-daily version of zileuton for asthma in 2006. It plans to begin a Phase II trial this year to evaluate Zyflo's use in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and also is developing an intravenous version of zileuton for emergency-room administration to treat acute exacerbations of asthma.

The company said it is in the process of changing manufacturing sites for Zyflo, and subject to FDA approval of the sites, it expects to begin selling the approved, four-times-daily product for asthma in the U.S. during the first half of 2005.

Critical Therapeutics also expects to use IPO-generated funds to further its development of existing preclinical and clinical programs, as well as for discovery programs and development of additional product candidates, working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes.

Beyond Zyflo, the company's pipeline includes treatments directed toward inflammatory responses associated with acute diseases and conditions that lead to admission to the emergency room or intensive care, and acute exacerbations of chronic diseases that frequently lead to hospitalization. Its research programs and product candidates target the cytokine cascade.

A cytoprotective drug labeled CTI-01 is being developed to reduce trauma-related vascular and organ damage. Another product, a pro-inflammatory cytokine to treat severe inflammatory diseases, is partnered with MedImmune Inc., of Gaithersburg, Md. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 1, 2003.)

It also is developing a cholinergic anti-inflammatory program to treat inflammation.

Critical Therapeutics has raised about $75 million in venture funds to date, including a $56 million Series B round last fall. The company reported cash and cash equivalents of $40.6 million as of Dec. 31. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 9, 2003.)

Large shareholders of Critical Therapeutics include Boston-based MPM Asset Management LLC, with a 22 percent stake; Princeton, N.J.-based HealthCare Ventures LP, with a 20.7 percent holding; MedImmune Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of MedImmune, with 16 percent; New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., with 11 percent; Waltham, Mass.-based Advanced Technology Ventures, with 10.6 percent; and Boston-based Oxford Bioscience Partners, with 5.4 percent.

The IPO's underwriting team includes New York-based SG Cowen Securities Corp. as sole book-running manager, along with co-managers CIBC World Markets Corp., also of New York; Piper Jaffray & Co., of New York; and Leerink Swann & Co., of Boston.