By Debbie Strickland

LifeCell Corp. filed for a public offering of 4 million shares that, based on an assumed offering price of $7.81, could gross more than $31 million for the Woodlands, Texas-based company.

Net proceeds, exclusive of underwriter overallotments, are estimated at $28.6 million.

LifeCell is an 11-year-old company specializing in tissue regeneration and cell preservation products. Its first product, the AlloDerm skin regeneration graft, hit the market in 1993-94.

Offering underwriters Vector Securities International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., and Gruntal & Co., of New York, have an overallotment option for 675,000 shares that could add $5.27 million to the gross.

Also part of the registration are 500,000 shares for sale by stockholders. The company will not receive proceeds from the sale of those shares.

Following the offering, LifeCell will have 14.9 million shares outstanding.

LifeCell's shares (NASDAQ:LIFC) closed Monday at $7.50, down $0.484.

The cash infusion should be sufficient to carry the company for two years, according to the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As of June 30, the company had $7.3 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. In the first six months of 1997, LifeCell's net loss totaled $3.2 million, up from $1.9 million over the same period in 1996, primarily due to increased marketing costs for AlloDerm.

AlloDerm acellular dermal graft is used in reconstructive plastic, dental and burn surgery. The product is an extracellular matrix tissue graft processed from donated human skin. Following transplant, the graft becomes repopulated with the patient's own cells and is revascularized.

Of the offering's proceeds, $19.1 million is earmarked for general corporate purposes and working capital; $4.5 million for new product development, including expansion of AlloDerm into new indications; and $5 million for sales and marketing of AlloDerm, including additional clinical studies.

The company hopes to expand the market for AlloDerm to include neurosurgery, urological surgery, general surgery and orthopedic surgery, in addition to developing an injectable form of the product to potentially treat incontinence, acne scars and third-degree burns.

Also in development are composite skin grafts, a platelet storage solution, heart valves, vascular grafts and valves, nerve connective tissue and a red blood cell preservation product.

Medtronic Inc., of Minneapolis, is collaborating on the heart valve products, and made an equity investment of $500,000 in 1994 in exchange for rights of first refusal on vascular graft products. *

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