By Brady Huggett

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. filed a registration statement with the SEC to offer 3 million shares of common stock, looking to raise $115.7 million, based on Wednesday's opening price.

Robertson Stephens and Salomon Smith Barney are underwriting the offering, and have an option to purchase an additional 450,000 shares to cover overallotments.

Neurocrine's stock (NASDAQ:NBIX) fell 37.5 cents Wednesday to close at $38.1875. The San Diego-based company had slightly more than 22 million shares outstanding and as of June 30, had $79.8 million in cash and cash equivalents. The company is currently in a quiet period and could not comment on the offering.

Neurocrine is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of therapeutic products in the areas of anxiety, depression, insomnia, malignant brain tumors, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. It has five programs in clinical trials.

The company had mixed results from studies on the experimental drug APL, altered peptide ligand, for patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). While a safety monitoring board stepped in and stopped both studies over an increase in MS brain lesions and allergic reactions, the company said the prompting of immune responses are also a positive and another Phase II trial will be done. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 4, 2000, p. 1.)

Neurocrine, in July, completed an agreement with Taisho Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, providing Taisho with exclusive rights in Asia and Europe to NBI-6024, Neurocrine's altered peptide ligand for diabetes. The collaboration was valued at up to $45 million, and Neurocrine will receive royalties on product sales in Europe and Japan. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 7, 2000, p. 1.)

Neurocrine currently collaborates with Janssen Pharmaceutica on NBI 30775, a corticotropin-releasing factor-1 receptor antagonist, aimed at those with depressive disorders. In July, Phase IIa results showed NBI 30775 was well tolerated, did not exhibit endocrinological side effects and demonstrated significant anti-depressant activity.

Neurocrine also has collaborations with Eli Lilly and Co., for corticotropin-releasing factor binding protein inhibitors and urocotin agonists for obesity and Alzheimer's disease, and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, for the research, development and commercialization of compounds that modulate excitatory amino acid transporters for the treatment of neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases.

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