Sibia Neurosciences Inc., whose research focuses on central nervoussystem disorders, raised more than $23 million in its initial publicoffering (IPO) of 2.1 million shares and will collect another $5million from Swiss pharmaceutical firm, Ciba-Geigy Ltd.

The IPO was priced at $11 per share, generating gross proceeds of$23.1 million. When the La Jolla, Calif.-based company registeredfor the offering the projected per-share price range was $11 to $13.(See BioWorld Today, March 25, 1996, p. 1.)

A week after filing for the IPO Sibia negotiated a three-yearextension of a 1992 collaboration with Ciba, which is merging withfellow Basel, Switzerland-based drug maker Sandoz Ltd. Part ofSibia's agreement with Ciba included a $5 million equity purchase bythe pharmaceutical firm, pushing its ownership stake to 11 percent.

The 454,000 shares targeted for Ciba are in addition to the 2.1million sold in the IPO. Following the offering, Sibia has about ninemillion shares outstanding.

Underwriters are Vector Securities International Inc., of Deerfield,Ill., and Salomon Brothers Inc. and Needham & Co., both of NewYork. They have options to purchase another 315,000 shares to coveroverallotments.

Sibia (NASDAQ:SIBI) debuted Friday and closed at $10.87.

In addition to the collaboration with Ciba, Sibia has major allianceswith Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, ofNew York.

The research deal with Ciba targets regulation of excitatory aminoacids, or glutamate receptors, in the brain. Researchers believeoveractivation of the receptors, which are involved in transmittingchemical messages among neurons, is involved in numerous centralnervous system disorders. (See BioWorld Today, March 29, 1996, p.1.)

The extended collaboration moves the alliance into drug discoveryfollowing the initial phase involving research on cloning receptorsand creating cell-based assays to test small molecule compounds. Alead candidate has been identified for preclinical testing for epilepsy.

Sibia's partnership with Lilly, also begun in 1992, focuses onregulation of neuronal voltage-gated calcium channels for treatmentof stroke, epilepsy and chronic pain. Following the IPO, Lilly has a 3percent ownership position in Sibia.

Sibia signed its collaboration with Bristol-Myers last year for apotential $50 million, focusing on treatments for Alzheimer's disease.The research centers on inhibiting production of amyloid B-protein,which is linked to the disorder. Sibia's approach targets proteaseswhose degenerative activities can generate the amyloid protein inbrain tissues.

Bristol-Myers owns a 7.4 percent stake in Sibia.

At the end of 1995, Sibia had $16.5 million and reported a net gainfor the year of $3 million. n

-- Charles Craig

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