GeneMedicine Inc. said Monday it filed a registration statement relatedto an initial public offering of 2.125 million shares of common stockwith an estimated price of $7 to $9 per share.The Houston company hopes to gross between $14.9 million and $19.1million in the offering. D. Blech & Co. Inc. is underwriting theoffering, and has a overallotment option of 281,250 shares.GeneMedicine currently has about 7.4 million shares outstanding. Thestock is expected to be listed in the NASDAQ market under the symbol"GMED."The company's proprietary gene medicines in development arecomprised of novel DNA expression vectors and vector deliverysystems. GeneMedicine's DNA expression vectors contain a gene andDNA sequences that control the location, amount and duration oftherapeutic protein production, according to the company's prospectus.Better Than Traditional TherapyGeneMedicine said its gene medicines will have an advantage overother gene-therapy methods _ such as the use of viruses and celltransplantation _ because the medicines can be directly administeredto patients by conventional methods, they degrade by natural processes,and they can be administered repeatedly by a physician, allowingmodification of the treatment regimen.The company is developing factor IX as a long-term prophylactictherapy for hemophilia B, and said it plans to file an investigationalnew drug (IND) application with the FDA by the end of 1995.GeneMedicine also hopes to have an IND filed by the end of 1995 forinsulin-like growth factor-I, for potential treatment of peripheralneuropathies, muscle wasting and muscle rehabilitation.The company also is researching gene medicines designed to: producesteroid-like effects for the treatment of inflammatory diseases; to lowerserum cholesterol levels to treat cardiovascular diseases; to produce theenzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase; and to produce factor XIII to treathemophilia A.In April, GeneMedicine entered into an agreement with Syntex(U.S.A.) Inc., a subsidiary of Syntex Corp., of Palo Alto, Calif., todevelop medicines for certain inflammatory and immunologicaldisorders. Syntex made a $15 million equity investment inGeneMedicine, and will be responsible for research during the initialthree-year term. The agreement allows for the companies to enter ajoint venture at the end of the research period.GeneMedicine has exclusive rights to certain gene therapy technologiesdeveloped at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where mostof the company's scientific founders are from.The company was incorporated in January 1992 under the name VectorTherapeutics Inc., and changed its name in August 1992 toGeneMedicine. n
-- Jim Shrine
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