By Mary Welch

Looking to raise about $120 million for its commercialization activities, Genometrix Inc. filed for an initial public offering.

The company, based in The Woodlands, Texas, did not disclose how many shares would be offered or at what price. Nor did it indicate how many shares would be offered to the underwriters to cover any overallotments. The financial infusion should be sufficient for the company to operate through 2001, it said in its prospectus.

The offering will be jointly managed by Lehman Brothers Inc., of New York, as book-running manager, and Chase H&Q, of New York. Dain Rauscher Wessels, of Minneapolis; Fidelity Capital Markets, of Boston; and Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, of San Francisco, also are underwriting the offering.

Upon completion of this offering, Genometrix will be authorized to issue 75 million shares of common stock. As of March 10, the company had 11.7 million shares outstanding held by 35 stockholders.

Genometrix was founded in 1993 to capitalize on the convergence of electronics and molecular biology, and provides high-throughput genomic services and information. Its technology platform combines high-throughput microarray analyses, automated sample handling, high-capacity bioinformatics and statistical genetics. The company also is amassing a repository of patient-consented samples with attendant clinical records for DNA analysis.

According to the prospectus, Genometrix said it believes it has the only unified DNA chip microarray technology that can service genotyping and gene expression and, in the future, protein analysis applications.

The company has developed and launched four services: VistaMorph Genotyping Service, VistaExpress Gene Expression Service, VistaLogic Information System and VistaClinic DNA Repository. VistaMorph Genotyping Service features high-throughput genetic variation analysis using standard or custom microarrays, and VistaExpress Gene Expression Services enables researchers to profile gene expression patterns across thousands of biological samples. VistaLogic Information System is Internet-based application software that provides an interface between Genometrix and its customers. VistaClinic DNA Repository is a collection of DNA samples and clinical records that will be used for large-scale genotyping analysis.

In November the company launched its genomic services through the GenoVista Partnership program, and current customers include Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J., and Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, of Cincinnati. The GenoVista program gives customers access to the company┬┐s core technology platforms as well as high- throughput custom microarray fabrication and analysis services for genotyping and gene expression profiling.

The company has a partnership in the area of DNA-based clinical systems with Motorola Inc., of Schaumburg, Ill., which made a $10 million equity investment and now owns 3.7 million shares.

Genometrix reported 1999 revenues of $1.7 million and a net loss of $4.4 million. The company┬┐s fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. As of Dec. 31, the company had cash of $11.7 million.

The proposed Nasdaq ticker symbol is GNMX.

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