NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc. has filed for an initial public offeringwith the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell $2.5million shares of common stock at a price of $8-10 per share.

The underwriters for the offering, which was filed last Friday,are PaineWebber Inc. and Vector Securities International.

After the offering is completed, NPS of Salt Lake City will have6.8 million shares of stock outstanding. The company's lastprivate placement was in November, when it raised $7 million.Its losses for 1993 totaled $7 million as well.

NPS is developing small-molecule drugs that target ionregulators, specifically calcium ion regulators. The company hascloned calcium receptors and identified lead compounds activeon the receptors. In December, NPS filed an investigational newdrug (IND) application for one of the orally active compounds,NPS R-568, for treatment of hyperparathyroidism. The disorderis characterized by increased secretion of parathyroid hormonethat results in elevated serum calcium, which can lead to boneloss, kidney disorders and cognitive dysfunction.

NPS said in its prospectus that in preclinical trials the drugsignificantly reduced the secretion of parathyroid hormone andthereby lowered serum calcium levels. The company said thereis currently no drug treatment for hyperparathyroidism; insevere cases the only treatment is surgery.

As part of its calcium receptor technology, NPS is studying themodulation of calcium receptor activity to treat osteoporosis.The company said it is pursuing three distinct approaches inthis area, two involving prevention of further bone loss andone involving stimulation of bone formation to reverse theeffects of osteoporosis.

The company is also in preclinical development with Araxincompounds, small synthetic molecules that have been derivedfrom NPS's library of invertebrate toxins. NPS said thecompounds, which are active at a previously unknown bindingsite on calcium channels, have shown efficacy in preclinicalmodels of pain and stroke. The calcium channels are activatedby the neurotransmitter glutamate.

NPS has a collaborative agreement with SmithKline Beechamfor development and commercialization of drugs to treatosteoporosis and related bone and mineral disorders (seeBioWorld, Dec. 15, 1993) and a March 1993 collaborativeagreement with Brigham and Women's Hospital fordevelopment of drugs targeted at calcium receptors.

In addition, NPS has an agreement with a science agency of theMadagascar government to research and study the possiblemedical uses of poisonous insects (see BioWorld, May 27,1993).

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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