By Frances Bishopp

Cambridge NeuroScience Inc. has raised $26.4 million through a public offering of 2.4 million shares of its common stock at a price of $11 a share. The size of the offering, which had been 2 million shares at the time of filing in December 1996, was increased "due to large public appetite for the stock," Jerry Williamson, director of marketing at Cambridge, told BioWorld Today.

Also included in the offering is a "green shoe" potential, which gives underwriters Robertson, Stephens & Co., of San Francisco, and PaineWebber Inc., of New York, the option to exercise as many as 360,000 additional shares, although, Williamson said, that amount has not yet been determined.

The funds, Williamson said, will be used to complete Cambridge's clinical development and other research and development activities.

Cambridge NeuroScience, of Cambridge, Mass., develops products to treat stroke, traumatic brain injury and chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathies and other degenerative diseases.

The company's two essential product candidates and programs include ion-channel blockers for the treatment and prevention of brain damage resulting from traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke and surgery as well as for the treatment of certain forms of neuropathic pain; and growth-factor proteins for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathies.

Cerestat, the company's lead product, is a small molecule ion-channel blocker currently in Phase III clinical trials for the treatment of both TBI and stroke.

Cerestat, under development with Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, of Ingelheim, Germany, is an N-methyl-D-asparate (NMDA) ion channel blocker that protects cells by preventing calcium overload, which causes a damaging ionic imbalance and is triggered by loss of blood flow to the brain.

Another Cambridge product, a glutamate inhibitor now named CNS 5161, is in late-stage preclinical studies and is anticipated to be in the clinic shortly, Williamson said.

In December 1996, Cambridge added a potential $20 million to its pipeline of new products through a partnership with Allergan Inc., of Irvine, Calif., for development of a glaucoma prevention treatment.

In the glaucoma alliance, Allergan is paying Cambridge to apply its knowledge of glutamate ion channels, such as NMDA, and sodium channels to protect optic nerve cells from the same kind of damage suffered by brain cells during an ischemic stroke.

Cambridge teamed up with The Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, to develop treatments for Alzheimer's disease. The venture combines the research and drug development capabilities of the two organizations to focus on novel pharmaceuticals designed to inhibit the activity of a form of apolipoprotein E, a molecule that has been widely linked to Alzheimer's disease.

Cambridge, as of Dec. 31, 1996, had approximately $26 million in cash. Cambridge's stock (NASDAQ:CNSI) closed Friday at $12.062, down $0.063. *