By Randall Osborne

West Coast Editor

The X-ray systems company Bruker AXS priced its initial public offering of 9 million shares at $6.50 per share, raising $58.5 million, net proceeds from which will total about $52.9 million, not including an overallotment option for underwriters of 1.35 million shares.

John Bourke, chief financial officer and treasurer of Bruker, noted the company is in a ¿quiet period¿ as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and could not comment in detail on the offering.

Bruker, of Madison, Wis., said the money will be used as working capital and will go toward the usual corporate purposes research and development, expansion of sales and marketing capabilities, strategic acquisitions, facilities expansion and repayment of debt.

Bruker¿s acronym stands for ¿advanced X-ray solutions,¿ and the company¿s product line includes X-ray spectrometry, X-ray diffraction and single crystal diffraction. The company said its integrated systems are especially useful in drug discovery, enabling users to find the structures of specific molecules, such as proteins.

The systems appealed to San Diego-based GeneFormatics Inc., which in October formed partnerships with three Bruker companies, including Bruker AXS, to develop next-generation technologies for the experimental analysis of 3-dimensional protein structures and for the supply of various research infrastructure systems. (See BioWorld Today, October 4, 2001.)

GeneFormatics and the Bruker companies will collaborate to develop three technologies deployed by GeneFormatics in its Diamond structural proteomics platform. The Bruker companies said they would make undisclosed equity investments in GeneFormatics¿ Series C round of financing, and GeneFormatics would make undisclosed equity cross investments in Bruker AXS and Bruker Daltonics. The other Bruker firm involved in the deal is Bruker BioSpin Corp.

Among Bruker AXS¿s technology is the Proteum series of products, designed for determining crystallographic structures of proteins and other macromolecules, including a suite of software tools.

Book-running manager for the Bruker AXS IPO is UBS Warburg LLC, of Stamford, Conn., along with co-lead manager Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, of San Francisco. Serving as co-managers are CIBC World Markets, of New York; SG Cowen Securities Corp., also of New York; and Robert W. Baird & Co., of Milwaukee.

The company is trading under the NASDAQ symbol ¿BAXS,¿ and its shares closed Monday at $6.52, up 2 cents.