Synaptic Pharmaceutical Corp.'s second try at an initialpublic offering (IPO) was successful as the company'sIPO of 2 million shares was priced at $12.50 each. The$25 million financing is expected to close Tuesday.

The Paramus, N.J., company first filed for an IPO of 2.5million shares at $10 to $12 each in March 1992, but raninto a down market. Underwriters for the completedoffering were Merrill Lynch & Co., of New York, andVector Securities International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill.

Synaptic, using human receptor-targeted drug designtechnology, already has corporate collaborations with EliLilly and Co., Merck & Co. Inc. and Ciba-Geigy Ltd. Ithas received about $35 million from the partners inlicense fees, research funding, milestones and equityinvestments. Another $30 million was raised elsewheresince the company's founding in 1987 (originally it wascalled Neurogenetic Corp.).

The company clones genes for its G protein-coupledreceptors. The idea is to design drugs for specific receptorsubtypes that will be more effective than existing drugsand have fewer side effects.

The 1991 deal with Lilly, of Indianapolis, was extendedfor four years last January. They are developing drugsthat modulate serotonin receptor subtypes. Thecollaboration involves three areas: migraine, anxiety anddepression.

The first compound, for migraine, was taken into clinicalstudies last month. Leads have been identified in theother two areas. Lilly will hold about 7.1 percent ofSynaptic post-offering.

Ciba-Geigy, of Basel, Switzerland, holds about 9.4percent of Synaptic. The companies in August 1994signed a three-year agreement to develop drugs targetingneuropeptide Y receptor subtypes. Work focusing onobesity is in the early preclinical stage. Synaptic has aninternal program in that area in which a lead compoundagainst pain has been identified.

Merck, of Whitehouse Station, N.J., didn't take an equityposition in Synaptic when they initiated theircollaboration in December 1993 on alpha-1a adrenergicneuroreceptors. The initial focus of that work is in benignprostatic hyperplasia. Synaptic has two internal programsin that area _ for glaucoma and pain _ for which leadshave been identified.

The company also has an internal program in receptordiscovery for galanin, with obesity being a likelyindication. Three other receptor-discovery programs areunder way for undisclosed target areas. n

-- Jim Shrine

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