By Charles Craig

Transcend Therapeutics Inc., which withdrew a planned initial public offering (IPO) last year, is making another attempt and has added a potential $46 million collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH to help generate investor interest.

The deal with Boehringer Ingelheim, of Ingelheim, Germany, focuses on Cambridge, Mass.-based Transcend Therapeutics' lead product, Procysteine, for limiting tissue damage caused by excessive quantities of toxic molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS).

The drug boosts cellular production of glutathione, a peptide that neutralizes ROS, and is in clinical development for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiple organ dysfunction (MOD). The immune system generates ROS to kill infections, but overproduction of the toxic molecules can damage tissues.

Transcend revealed its collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim in an IPO prospectus filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company attempted a debut on the NASDAQ market in August 1996 during a summer slump in biotechnology stocks. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 27, 1996, p. 1.)

A projected post-Labor Day market rally for the sector never occurred and Transcend withdrew the offering in December.

In the deal with Boehringer Ingelheim, Transcend will receive $10 million up front, including a $5 million license fee and a $5 million equity investment at the IPO price. The pharmaceutical company will get marketing rights worldwide to intravenous formulations of Procysteine.

Boehringer Ingelheim also agreed to make milestone payments related to development of the drug for ARDS and MOD totaling $36 million.

Phase III trials of Procysteine for ARDS are expected to begin in the second quarter this year. Phase II studies for MOD are scheduled to start by the end of 1997.

Transcend retained co-promotion rights to the drug in the U.S. and will manufacture Procysteine for Boehringer Ingelheim.

In the IPO, Transcend has proposed selling 2 million shares in a projected range of $12 to $14. Based on a price of $13, the offering would raise $26 million. Following the IPO, Transcend will have 6.1 million shares outstanding.

Underwriters Vector Securities International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., and Everen Securities Inc., of Chicago, have options to purchase another 300,000 shares to cover overallotments. *