By Matthew Willett

Athersys Inc. filed for an initial public offering Friday, specifying neither the number of shares to be offered nor a proposed price for each share, though it estimated an upper limit of the financing at $115 million.

According to the company's filing, Athersys hasn't allocated the proceeds of the offering to any specific use.

The functional genomics company founded in 1995 develops novel research tools and therapeutics. Its RAGE (Random Activation of Gene Expression) technology platform enables researchers to survey the entire human genome for biologically functional proteins and to correlate proteins with gene structure.

Underwriting the offering is Credit Suisse First Boston Corp., of New York; Dain Rauscher Wessels, of Minneapolis; and ING Barings LLC, of New York.

The company in May completed a $48 million private financing through placement agents Dain Rauscher Wessels and New York-based ING Barings LLC. Investors in that financing round included Invesco Funds, of Denver; Van Wagoner Funds; Crestwood Capital Partners; Cogene Biotech Ventures; Roxbury Capital; Chelsey Capital; KBC Equity Funds; MCP Global Corp.; President Life Sciences Co. Ltd., of Taipei, Taiwan; Manschot Opportunity Fund; TalMor Captial Management; Curran Partners, of Stamford, Conn.; Emerging Growth Management; and DRW Venture Partners. (See BioWorld Today, May 9, 2000.)

The Cleveland-based company collaborates with Medarex Inc., of Princeton, N.J.; Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland; Acorda Therapeutics Inc., of New York; Gene-Cell Inc., of Houston; and President Life Sciences Co.

In the Medarex collaboration signed in August, Athersys contributes its RAGE technology to the development of therapeutics derived from Medarex's HuMAb-Mouse technology. The three-year agreement calls for the companies to share development costs.

In that deal, Medarex purchased equity in Athersys worth $5 million through a purchase of Athersys shares at a price of $12.11 per share.

The February joint venture with Elan plans to develop and commercialize a therapeutic protein to treat AIDS-associated muscle wasting.

It's March partnership with Gene-Cell aims to deliver another Athersys technology, synthetic microchromosome vectors, into human stem cells using Gene-Cell's microinjection technology.

The collaboration with Acorda is focused on the discovery of validated drug targets to treat central nervous system disorders.

As of June 30, according to the company's filing, Athersys had about $50.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.

No Comments