While some companies, such as CV Therapeutics Inc., have onlytrimmed share prices for initial public offerings, others, like IntrogenTherapeutics Inc., have chosen to withdraw offerings completelyuntil the market for biotech stocks improves.

CV Therapeutics, of Palo Alto, Calif., has filed an amendment to itsregistration statement filed in October, revising the price range of itsIPO, to consist of 2.5 million shares, from $10-$12 to $8-$9.

Introgen Therapeutics, of Austin, Texas, has postponed its IPO of 2.7million shares indefinitely, David Nance, president of Introgen, toldBioWorld Today. "We had the option of amending our price," hesaid, "but came to the conclusion that the window [the new issuewindow] isn't good, actually," he continued, "there is no market."

Introgen, Nance said, decided to postpone the offering instead ofreducing the price because "we have plenty of cash and within thenext year we will have pivotal data available. We will be vigilant ofthe market and when the opportunity appears to present itself, we willgo again."

These moves, Fariba Ghodsian, an analyst with Lehman Brothers inNew York, said, reflect a trend among biotech companies.

"I have seen a number of companies that have amended their stockofferings and are coming in at a lower range," Ghodsian said. "Manyof these companies held their IPOs during the summer period withthe hopes that the market would go up in the fall. They filedoriginally based on the bull market we had in May, but the stockswent down during the summer."

"They had hoped for a better market in the fall and it just didn'thappen," she continued. "We had a bull market for about a year, fromJune of 1995 to May 1996, so part of it is the cycle that occurs whenstocks go up a lot."

Introgen Therapeutics, which develops gene therapy to treat cancer,has three products in development: retroviral p53 and adenoviral p53,both for lung cancer, and adenoviral p53 for head and neck cancer.All three drugs are in Phase I/II clinical trials.

CV Therapeutics, founded in 1992, focuses on the application ofmolecular cardiology to the discovery, development andcommercialization of small molecule drugs for the treatment ofcardiovascular diseases.

The company targets the adenosine A1-receptor, the cell cycle andchronic inflammation for the development of compounds.

CVT's product, CVT-124, an adenosine A1-receptor antagonistdeveloped to treat congestive heart failure and other disorders, thecompany said, has potential applications in the treatment of edemaassociated with congestive heart failure and in the prevention andtreatment of acute renal failure. Phase I-II results reported the smallmolecule was safe and well tolerated and produced dose-relatedincreases in sodium and uric acid excretion with only minimalpotassium losses.

Another CVT product, Ranolazine, was acquired in April of this yearfrom Palo Alto, Calif.-based Syntex USA., a subsidiary of RocheHolding Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland.

Syntex had evaluated the drug, a piperazine acetamide, in Phase IItrials for angina and ischemic heart disease and results fit CVT'scriteria for development candidates as it is a "small molecule whichworks through a novel mechanism of action."

Ranolazine was administered to more than 1,200 patients and wasreported to have improved exercise tolerance in angina patientswithout adversely affecting heart rate or decreasing blood pressure.

CVT-1, a sulfated polysaccharide, designed to block a transportprotein that plays a role in promoting absorption of cholesterol fromthe intestine, failed in Phase II studies.

In May, CV Therapeutics agreed to collaborate with Bayer AG,which gave the German drug maker rights to molecular targetsbelieved to be involved in inflammatory diseases.

This collaboration marked CV Therapeutics' first with a majorpharmaceutical company.

The proceeds of the stock offering, the company said, will be usedfor preclinical testing, clinical trials, certain milestone payments,repayment of debt and working capital.

CV Therapeutics, as of Sept. 30 of this year, had cash on hand ofapproximately $10.5 million. Net loss for 1995 was reported at $12.8million. n

-- Frances Bishopp

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

No Comments