By Mary Welch

3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals Inc., a provider of proprietary methodology for "gene-to-clinic" small-molecule drug discovery, filed for an initial public offering to raise $70 million.

Bear Stearns & Co., of New York, is the lead managing underwriter. Chase H&Q, of New York, and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, of Minneapolis, are co-managing the offering. The company didn't specify the shares to be offered or how many it would have outstanding after the offering.

The offering, along with the company's cash, should be sufficient to last for two years, it said in its registration statement.

3-Dimensional (3-D) intends to use the net proceeds for research and development purposes as well as for acquiring or licensing targets or technology.

The company developed DiscoverWorks technologies to capitalize on the opportunities for drug discovery that are emerging from the sequencing of the human genome. DiscoverWorks technology has the potential to produce better drug candidates in a shorter period of time with improved compound characteristics and broad target applicability, the company said in its filing.

The company also has an internal pipeline of cardiovascular and oncology drug candidates, including one clinical and eight preclinical programs. The most advanced cardiovascular product candidate, an orally acting antithrombotic agent designed to inhibit the formation of blood clots, is in Phase I trials.

The most advanced oncology product candidate, which also may be useful for cardiovascular indications, is an orally active urokinase inhibitor designed to inhibit the supply of blood to and growth of tumors. This program was licensed to Schering AG, of Frankfurt, Germany.

The company ended 1999 with revenues of $4.5 million, and a net loss of $16 million. As of March 31, the company had $22 million in cash.

Among the company's large institutional shareholders are funds affiliated with HealthCare Ventures, of Princeton, N.J.; Rho Management Trust II, of New York; State of Michigan Retirement Systems, of East Lansing, Mich.; Abingworth Bioventures SICAV, of Luxembourg; and Biotech Growth SA, of Zug, Switzerland.

3-D's proposed Nasdaq ticker symbol is DDDP.