Dura Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Diego company focusing ondeveloping treatments for respiratory conditions, grossed about$28.7 million from a public offering.

Dura netted about $27 million from the sale of 2.25 million shares at$12.75 per share. Another 426,812 shares were offered by sellingshareholders. Montgomery Securities and Dean Witter Reynolds Inc.managed the offering.

"The primary purpose of the offering was to acquire products thatcan be added to our existing product line, basically leveraging theexisting sales force we already have in place," Jim Newman, Dura'schief financial officer, told BioWorld.

The company now has about 10.1 million shares outstanding,Newman said. It had reported about $10 million in cash andequivalents on Sept. 30.

The majority of the shares, or 2 million, went toinstitutional investors at the bid price oF $12.75. The stock wastrading at about $12 when Dura officials went on the road to sell it.

"Cam Garner [Dura's president and CEO] did a tremendous jobselling it," Newman said in explaining that prices often go downbefore an offering closes. "But it's not hard selling a good story."

Dura reported a net income of $597,000 on revenues of $5.5 millionfor the quarter that ended Sept. 30. It showed its first profit in thisyear's first quarter, earning 2 cents per share. Earnings were 4 centsand 6 cents in the second and third quarters, respectively.

Dura has cough, cold and asthma products on the market. But itsproprietary pulmonary drug delivery technology called Dryhaler iswhat Newman called the "home run."

"The company will be nicely successful without the Dryhaler,"Newman said, "but when it comes on it will have the potential ofdoubling sales that year."

The product will be in equivalency tests within a month comparing itto metered-dose inhalers, commonly used to deliver asthmamedications, Newman said. The Dryhaler is flow-rate independent,achieved by use of an impeller to create a cloud of medication. Asone starts to inhales, a motor that activates a rotor is turned on,creating the cloud that is inhaled in the first second.

That delivery method compensates for the differences in users'inhalation abilities.

"One of the big areas we're looking at is the delivery of proteins andpeptides through the lungs," Newman said. "The products we'vebeen talking about so far are to get to the lungs." That would providean alternative to subcutaneous injection, he said.

The company announced the offering Tuesday, and its stock rose 38cents per share. Dura (NASDAQ:DURA) stock fell 75 centsWednesday, closing at $12.75. n

-- Jim Shrine

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