The Chiroscience Group plc has joined the growing trickle ofcompanies seeking a listing on the London Stock Exchange. Thecompany announced this week that it expects to announce theterms of a placement on Jan. 27.

Chiroscience of Cambridgeshire plans a full listing with aplacement of shares and an offer for sale sponsored by RobertFleming & Co. The brokers for the issue are Panmure Gordon &Co.

Chiroscience is active in the area of chiral chemistry, theproduction of single isomers. The company is developing itsown range of medicines based on new compounds. It is alsoinvolved in developing single-isomer compounds currentlymarketed as a mixture of two isomers. And the companysupplies pharmaceutical companies with chiral intermediates(synthons), which can then act as building blocks for thesynthesis of single isomers.

Many drugs are sold as chiral mixtures of both isomers,although frequently, only one isomer delivers the requiredmedical effects. Occasionally -- most notably in the case ofthalidomide -- the therapeutically useless isomer has beenshown to have undesirable side effects.

Regulators have been putting pressure on pharmaceuticalcompanies to market single isomers, and Chiroscience is one ofa handful of companies set up in the United Kingdom todevelop the techniques and reagents to meet this need.

The company's directors believe that chiral technologies canimprove the commercial viability of some existing compoundswhose use is limited by adverse side effects. Thepharmaceutical industry also sees the technology as a way ofimproving productivity; since many compounds consist of amixture of a pharmacologically active isomer and one that isuseless, raw materials are wasted and production costs arehigher.

Chiroscience already has an existing product line in its sale ofsynthons to the pharmaceutical industry. The company also hasfour new chemical entities and three compounds -- what itcalls fast-track single-isomer (FTSI) forms of existing drugs inpreclinical development.

An additional FTSI is in Phase II trials and another, (S)-ketoprofen, developed with Menarini, was submitted forregulatory approval in Spain in May 1993.

Chiroscience expects institutional shareholders to take up 55percent of the forthcoming issue, with the remainder to be thesubject of an offer for sale to the public.

The company expects to continue to incur losses for a numberof years. Its revenues were $2.4 million in the fiscal yearended in February 1993, $1.5 million from product sales and$894,000 from collaborative research. For the six monthsleading up to August 1993, revenues were about $2 million.

While Chiroscience has already worked with a number of majormultinational companies, its long-term ambitions are in thedevelopment of its own new chemicals. Chiroscience has apilot-scale production plant as well as research facilities.

The company said the proceeds of the offering, together withexisting cash resources of $10.35 million, will be used tofinance its research and development programs, marketingactivities and related expansion in both personnel and fixedassets.

-- Michael Kenward Special to BioWorld

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