MitoKor Inc. filed its initial public offering registration statement with the SEC, seeking $60 million from the public markets.

The San Diego-based company, estimating in its prospectus the maximum take of $60 million, expects to use the proceeds for working capital and general corporate purposes, including research and development and potential acquisitions of products, technologies or companies. It has proposed the ticker symbol of MITO.

Underwriters for the offering are RBC Capital Markets, of Minneapolis; Lazard Freres & Co. LLC, of New York; Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., of Baltimore; and Gerard Klauer Mattison & Co. Inc., of New York.

MitoKor focuses on the discovery and development of drugs to treat diseases and conditions associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. It has an agreement with Wyeth, formerly American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., for the development of estrogens and estrogen-like compounds for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Wyeth is funding a Phase III trial evaluating the use of estrogens in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in postmenopausal women.

Its Parkinson’s disease candidate, ABP-150, is in Phase I studies and its stroke treatment candidate is in preclinical studies. MitoKor said it has multiple drug candidates for the treatment of obesity and diabetes, and its mitochondrial research has produced drug discovery targets and preclinical therapeutic leads in osteoarthritis, glaucoma, Friedreich’s ataxia and cancer.

MitoKor sells chemistry products and services through its subsidiary, Mimotopes Pty. Ltd.

Alta Partners, of San Francisco, owns about 13.1 percent of MitoKor. Forward Ventures, of San Diego, has an 11.6 percent stake; Domain Associates, of Princeton, N.J., owns 10.9 percent; and MDS Capital Corp., of Toronto, owns 11.1 percent. MitoKor’s group of nine executive officers and directors, including Walter Moos, CEO and chairman, owns 43.7 percent.

MitoKor earned $8.5 million in revenue in 2001, and posted a net loss of about $21.7 million for the year. It had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of about $15 million as of Dec. 31. It raised approximately $25 million in a private equity financing near the end of last year. At the time of the financing, Moos said the funds would be used for mitochondrial discovery and development efforts. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 24, 2001.)

Also in December, MitoKor and Pfizer Inc., of New York, extended their collaboration aimed at discovering targets and therapeutics based on mitochondrial dysfunction. The collaboration was originally established in 1998. In January, MitoKor said it had three agreements in place with the Novato, Calif.-based Buck Institute for Age Research, the University of Oregon at Eugene, and with the University of California at San Diego with the goal of deciphering the mitochondrial proteome.