By Lisa Seachrist

Washington Editor

Both Dyax Corp. and The Medicines Co. have decided to brave a volatile market and announced filings for initial public offerings.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Dyax Corp. said it is attempting to raise $75 million, though the prospectus doesn't detail the number of shares the company intends to offer or the price it hopes to get for each share.

Lead underwriter for the offering is New York-based JP Morgan Securities Inc. Lehman Brothers Inc., of New York, and Pacific Growth Equities Inc., of San Francisco, also are serving as underwriters for the offering.

In its prospectus, phage display specialist Dyax said the proceeds from the offering will be used to fund further research and development, possible acquisitions of technology and businesses and working capital.

Dyax specializes in using its phage display technology to develop proprietary therapeutics, engage in collaborative agreements to license its technology, to create separation products and to develop new in vivo imaging and industrial enzyme products.

Dyax's phage display technology is a novel method to display individually up to tens of billions of peptides and proteins on the surface of a small bacterial virus called a phage. The technique can be used to display compounds as large as human antibodies and enzymes. The technology allows Dyax and its licensees to produce large collections of protein libraries that are used to identify compounds that interact with high specificity to a target of interest.

As the genomics revolution continues to produce a legion of new drug targets, Dyax says its technology offers a way to rapidly and cost-effectively discover therapeutic lead compounds, validate targets and purify therapeutics.

The company has two products in Phase I clinical development: EPI-HNE4/Reltran, a human neutrophil elastase inhibitor is a potential therapeutic for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and acute respiratory distress syndrome; and DX-88, an inhibitor of human kallikrein that is being developed as a potential therapeutic for hereditary angioedema, complications of cardiopulmonary bypass surgery and rheumatoid arthritis. Dyax is in a joint venture with Cambridge, Mass.-based Genzyme Corp. to develop DX-88. Dyax is responsible for the clinical development while Genzyme will assume the marketing and sales duties. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 2, 1988, p. 1.)

The company has 10 collaboration agreements with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. In addition, the company has two new broad license agreements. Amgen Inc., of Thousand Oaks, Calif., signed an agreement with the company in February under which Dyax will develop a new phage library. In March, Dyax entered into a collaboration and license agreement with Rockville, Md.-based Human Genome Sciences Inc. (HGS) to use the phage display technology to identify and optimize product leads that bind to therapeutic targets selected by HGS.

The company also generates revenues from its separation and purification product development programs. In 1999, the company had more than $12 million in revenues from this business.

At the quarter ending March 31, Dyax had approximately $18 million in cash. Once the offering goes through, Dyax common shares will trade on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol DYAX.

The Medicines Co., also of Cambridge, is looking to raise $75 million, according to its prospectus. The company did not detail the number of shares being offered nor the ticker symbol it will use on the Nasdaq National Market once the offering is completed.

The Medicines Co. acquires, develops and commercializes biopharmaceutical products in late stages of development. Having just received an approvable letter for its anticoagulant Angiomax (bivalirudin), the company intends to use the proceeds from the offering for the commercial launch of Angiomax, additional clinical trials to support new indications, product development activities and to fund acquisitions of other drugs.

Angiomax is a direct thrombin inhibitor derived from hirudin, a natural anticoagulating enzyme secreted by leeches. It originally was developed as a rationally designed drug by Biogen Inc., also of Cambridge, to replace heparin as an anticoagulant in percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). Formerly called Hirulog, it was developed through Phase III trials by Biogen. When the drug failed to provide a 33 percent reduction in deaths and myocardial infarctions following angioplasty compared to heparin, Biogen abandoned the drug.

The Medicines Co. picked up development in March 1997, reanalyzed the data and discovered the drug was particularly good for use as an anticoagulant in patients with unstable angina undergoing PTCA. The FDA issued an approvable letter for this use last week. The company and the agency are working out the final details before the drug is cleared for marketing.

The Medicines Co. is also developing the drug for use in patients who are hospitalized with myocardial infarction and has a 17,000-patient Phase III study under way. (See BioWorld Today, May 18, 2000, p. 1.)

The company also is developing a second product candidate, CTV-05, a proprietary biotherapeutic agent with a potentially broad range of applications in gynecological and reproductive infections.

As of March 31, the company had more than $12 million in cash and cash equivalents.