Both ViroPharma Inc., which targets RNA viruses, and CVTherapeutics Inc., which focuses on cardiovascular diseases, wentpublic with high expectations, but found the market reception fortheir science and technology a little less enthusiastic.

When ViroPharma, of Malvern, Pa., registered for its initial publicoffering (IPO) in late September, it proposed selling 2.25 millionshares between $11 and $13 per share. Based on the mid-range priceof $12, the offering was expected to raise $27 million.

Instead the IPO was priced at $7 per share, generating gross proceedsof $15.75 million. As a result, the company revised projections aboutits operations, saying it has enough cash to support programs throughearly 1998. With the original IPO price range, the company expectedto generate funding to last through mid-1998.

Underwriters were Cowen & Co. and J.P. Morgan & Co., both ofNew York. Following the offering, ViroPharma has 8.8 millionshares outstanding. Its stock (NASDAQ:VPHM) closed Wednesdayat $7.

CV Therapeutics, of Palo Alto, Calif., priced its IPO five days afterscaling down the original offering, which was proposed in lateSeptember and anticipated the sale of 2.5 million shares between $12and $14 per share. In an amended IPO registration Nov. 14, thecompany lowered the number of shares to 1.75 million and theprojected price to a range of $8 to $9.

CV Therapeutics priced the IPO at $8, generating $14 million ingross proceeds. Following the offering, the company has about 6.2million shares outstanding. Its stock (NASDAQ:CVTX) closedWednesday at $7.25.

Underwriters for CV Therapeutics' IPO were J.P. Morgan & Co.,UBS Securities and Invemed Associates Inc., all of New York.

ViroPharma is developing drugs to fight RNA viruses, which areresponsible for most human viral infections and which grow byreplicating RNA, a process different from the survival cycles of DNAviruses, retroviruses and cells.

RNA viruses include those responsible for the common cold,influenza, hepatitis C, viral meningitis and viral pneumonia. Thecompany's small molecule compounds are designed to blockenzymes essential for the virus' replication.

Early clinical trials of ViroPharma's most advanced compound,pleconaril, have demonstrated the small molecule is active againstviral meningitis, "summer flu" and the common cold. The drug is inPhase IIb studies for meningitis.

ViroPharma is working with Chiroscience Group plc, of Cambridge,U.K., to use the latter's combinatorial chemistry to generate potentialanti-viral compounds. Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, of Ingelheim,Germany, also has a collaboration with ViroPharma focused onhepatitis C.

CV Therapeutics said its IPO generated enough cash to fundoperations through the third quarter of 1998. The company's drugdiscovery is based on the genetics of cardiovascular disease. It signedits first major pharmaceutical collaboration in May 1996 with BayerAG, of Leverkusen, Germany, for drug discovery aimed atinflammatory disorders.

CV Therapeutics has two drugs in clinical trials. One product is anadenosine A1-receptor antagonist for treatment of edema associatedwith congestive heart failure and kidney failure. The other drug,ranolazine (piperazine acetamide), was licensed from Syntex USA, ofPalo Alto, a subsidiary of Roche Holding Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland,and is targeted for treatment of angina. n

-- Charles Craig

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.