The apparent slowdown in biotechnology financings overthe past several weeks didn't affect Myriad Genetics Inc.,as the genomics company grossed $46.8 million Fridayfrom an oversubscribed initial public offering.
The Salt Lake City company sold 2.6 million shares at$18 each. On Aug. 18, 1995, it registered to sell 2 millionshares at $15 to $17 apiece. Underwriters Cowen & Co.and UBS Securities Inc., both of New York, have anoption to purchase 390,000 additional shares to coveroverallotments.
Myriad now has 8.1 million shares outstanding. Its cashposition is about $73 million, less what it's spent sinceJune 30, 1995, and the commissions related to theoffering. Myriad had a net loss of $5.3 million for theyear that ended June 30, 1995.
Company officials and analysts involved in the offeringstill are restricted from talking about it. But it's clear thatMyriad already has disclosed findings and its ongoingcorporate collaborations, along with its strategy togenerate near-term revenues with diagnostic applications,made it an attractive pick for investors.
Myriad's stock (NADDAQ:MYRD), in its first day oftrading, opened Friday at $19.50 and moved as high as$22.25 before closing at $21.50 in trading of nearly 1.8million shares.
Myriad researchers and their collaborators last yearisolated the BRCA1 breast cancer gene. Last May, thecompany signed a potential $60 million deal with CibaPharmaceuticals to discover genes responsible forcardiovascular disease. And in September Myriad andBayer Corp. announced a collaboration worth up to $71million for the discovery of genes implicated in obesity,osteoporosis and asthma.
The latter two deals each involved significant up-frontand research payments, and were structured to allowMyriad revenue opportunities from diagnostics whileminimizing its costs in the area of drug development.
In the August 1992 BRCA1 deal with Indianapolis-basedEli Lilly and Co., Myriad also retained rights for genetictesting applications. The company's reference laboratoryalready is certified, and plans call for Myriad to offertesting for BRCA1 in the latter half of 1996.
Bayer, of Pittsburgh _ the U.S. subsidiary of theGermany-based pharmaceutical giant _ made a $10million equity investment in Myriad and is sponsoringfive years of research at $5 million per year. Myriad canget another $36 million in milestones related to thatprogram.
With Ciba, of Summit, N.J. _ part of Switzerland-basedCiba-Geigy Ltd. _ Myriad received $7 million in equityfunding, and $5 million per year for five years forresearch. The potential milestones in that deal are $28million.
Myriad previously said it has research programs in theareas of cancer and central nervous system disorders thatoffer potential partnering opportunities down the road.
The company also has collaborations with variousinstitutions in Utah that give it access to data bases andpatient records in that state, which is advantageousconsidering the lineage make-ups resulting frompolygamous lifestyles. Myriad takes the genetic analysesfrom large families predisposed to a particular disease,then applies mapping, sequencing and positional closingtechnologies to discover and characterize disease-causinggenes and mutations. n
-- Jim Shrine
(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.