By Randall Osborne

West Coast Editor

After registering last month to offer 2.5 million shares to advance its microchip cartridge for analyzing test samples, Nanogen Inc. said it¿s selling 1.5 million shares at $55 each, raising $82.5 million.

San Diego-based Nanogen expects to put its NanoChip technology on the market this year. Dubbed a ¿new standard¿ for single nucleotide polymorphism scoring, NanoChip ¿ which, unlike other sequencing technologies, operates with very low salt conditions ¿ deploys in its work station automated instruments and a cartridge to examine samples that contain charged molecules.

Last month, the company filed to offer 2.5 million shares, which would have raised $151 million at the selling price then. When the current offering is completed, Nanogen will have 20.5 million shares outstanding. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 23, 2000, p. 1.)

The company is selling all shares in the current offering. Underwriters are Warburg Dillon Read LLC, Lehman Brothers Inc., Dain Rauscher Wessels, Pacific Growth Equities Inc. and First Union Securities, Inc.

In a filing related to the first proposed offering, Nanogen said it expects to begin selling NanoChip in the second half of this year, with the first applications to include DNA analysis, including SNPs and point mutations. Later, analysis of gene expression likely will be added, the company said. Nanogen signed an agreement in January with Japan-based Hitachi Instruments Co. for manufacturing and further development of the NanoChip.

The product¿s ¿electronic concentration of molecules greatly accelerates molecular binding at each microlocation,¿ Nanogen said, which allows for simultaneous analysis of multiple test results, or ¿multiplexing,¿ from a single sample. Microchips come with preloaded arrays designed for specific applications, or the user can design them.

Since starting up in 1993, the company has applied all of its resources to research and development, and had a deficit as of Dec. 31 of $72.6 million. It went public almost two years ago.

For the year ended Dec. 31, Nanogen¿s revenues totaled $8.1 million, as compared to $7.6 million for the same period in 1998, with a net loss of $25.2 million, or $1.39 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $20.9 million, or $1.60 per diluted share, for the same period in 1998.

Last fall, Nanogen expanded its collaboration with Aventis Research & Technologies GmbH Co. in a deal that could mean $12 million to Nanogen. The collaboration initially was with Hoechst AG, of Frankfurt, Germany, before its merger with Rhone-Poulenc SA to form Aventis. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 29, 1999, p. 1.)

Nanogen also has a joint venture with Becton Dickinson & Co., of Franklin Lakes, N.J., begun in October 1997 to identify disease-causing microbes and determine how they react to antibiotics.

The company¿s stock (NASDAQ:NGEN) closed Thursday at $48.875, down $10.125.