By Mary Welch

Cellomics Inc., which may be the first company to commercialize products in the field of cellomics, is seeking $100 million in an initial public offering (IPO).

The proceeds would be used for technology research, product and services development as well as scale-up of sales and marketing activities.

The company did not disclose how many shares are being offered or at what price. Prudential Securities Inc., of New York, is lead underwriter. Also underwriting the offering are ING Barings LLC, of New York, and Dain Rauscher Wessels Inc., of Minneapolis.

The company estimates that with the money from this IPO as well as cash on hand, it will have enough funds to operate through 2001.

The company¿s 1999 revenues were $3.4 million with a net loss of $11.1 million. As of Dec. 31, the company had $1.3 million in cash.

Cellomics is the study of all the molecules comprising a cell, as well as their interactions in space and over time, that bring about cellular functions. It is at the level of the cell where normal genes and proteins coordinate and perform life functions and where abnormal genes and proteins cause disease.

The company¿s intent is to design technologies and products to make drug discovery, basic biomedical research and clinical diagnostics more productive and cost effective by providing knowledge about cells and cellular functions.

The technology is designed to extend genomics by defining the cellular functions of genes and proteins, the registration statement said.

The Pittsburgh-based company develops high-content screening products consisting of instrumentation, fluorescence-based reagents and assays, data and information management software and cellular bioinformatics. The company¿s cell-based products and services help drug discovery companies rapidly narrow their search to include only the compounds which are most likely to succeed in trials, it said.

In November, Cellomics began selling its first commercial products, the ArrayScan II and Cellomics Store. The ArrayScan II is an automated cell analysis instrument that generates data regarding the effects of potential new drugs on various aspects of one or more cellular targets.

Cellomics Store is a software package that manages and archives the large volume of cell data and images that can be generated during screening. It allows for the visualization of biologically rich data generated from the ArrayScan instrument as well as high-throughput screening instruments marketed by other companies.

It is also developing a CellChip System, a miniaturized high-content screening platform, with Aclara BioSciences Inc., of Mountain View, Calif. The CellChip System is a miniaturized, next-generation platform for combining high-content and high-throughput screening. It combines microarrays of cells with microfluidics.

The company is designing its Cellomics Knowledgebase to capture proprietary and public domain cellular information, thereby creating a ¿virtual cell.¿ The Cellomics Knowledgebase will be a web browser-based product designed to facilitate the discovery of cellular knowledge about new targets, the interaction of targets within cellular pathways and cellular functions. The company believes that Cellomics Knowledgebase has the potential to create a substantial market, the registration statement said.

Among the largest shareholders are D. Lansing Taylor, the company¿s president and CEO; InterWest Management VI LLC, of Menlo Park, Calif.; Axion Venture Partners II Limited Partnership, of Hartford, Conn.; and Delphi Management III LLC, of Menlo Park.

Founded in 1996, Cellomics was named BioDx Inc.