By Karen Pihl-Carey

Bioinformatic software provider InforMax Inc. filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in hopes of raising $75 million.

The Rockville, Md.-based company plans to use the proceeds mostly for working capital and other general corporate purposes. It may use up to $3 million to discharge amounts outstanding under an existing bridge loan, and a portion may be used to acquire businesses, products and technologies or to establish joint ventures.

In its prospectus, InforMax did not list the number of shares it would offer in the IPO or at what price.

Lead manager for the IPO is Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., of New York. Co-managers include U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, of Minneapolis, and Adams, Harkness & Hill Inc., of Boston.

InforMax provides bioinformatic software solutions to more than 1,300 organizations worldwide, including more than 500 biotechnology, pharmaceutical and agricultural-life science companies. The software helps the companies analyze and interpret genomic, proteomic and other biomolecular data. Customers include Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass.; Pfizer Inc., of New York; and Diversa Corp., of San Diego.

The company has three main products: Vector NTI Suite, a desktop sequence analysis and visualization tool for scientists engaged in genomic and protein sequence research; Vector Enterprise, an enhanced version of Vector NTI that incorporates a common relational database; and GenoMax, a large-scale modular, enterprise-wide data mining and analysis application. Commercial launch of the Vector Enterprise is scheduled for the third quarter of 2000.

InforMax posted total revenues of $10 million in 1999, with a net loss of $1.5 million, or 64 cents per diluted share. For the three months ended March 31, the company had revenues of $3.2 million and a net loss of $2.5 million, or $1.01 per share. As of March 31, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $889,000.

InforMax has a collaboration with AxCell Biosciences Corp., of Princeton, N.J. In May, the two companies completed the implementation of the GenoMax software at AxCell's laboratory, keeping the collaboration on schedule to begin marketing a proteomics database product at the beginning of 2001. The companies also have completed the prototype software for visualizing AxCell's Inter-functional Proteomic Database of protein-protein interactions.

InforMax intends to list its stock on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol INMX.

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