Arris Pharmaceutical Corp. today became a publicly tradedcompany.

The South San Francisco, Calif., company filed a "silent" initialpublic offering (IPO) in early October; on Thursday it completedthe offering, grossing $17.5 million on the sale of 2.5 millionshares of common stock.

The shares, which were priced at $7 late Thursday, startedtrading today on the NASDAQ system as ARRS. After theoffering the company will have approximately 8.5 millionshares outstanding.

The lead underwriter for the IPO was Montgomery Securities,with PaineWebber Inc. acting as co-manager.

Arris was formed in May 1989 by a group of academicscientists in Cambridge, Mass., who believed that the marriageof medicinal chemistry and mass computing could prove apotent tool for novel drug design. The company raised about $8million in a first round of financing. Participants included CWGroup, DSV Partners, Fairfield Ventures, Kleiner PerkinsCaufield & Byers and Venrock. In July 1991, the companyraised another $5.2 million in a private placement thatincluded Accel Partners as well as the previous investors.

In August 1992, Arris again went to the private well, this timeraising $15.5 million to pour into its efforts in the rationaldesign of therapeutics for treating chronic pulmonary diseases.

Arris has two major corporate partners. The company hasjoined forces with Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) of ThousandOaks, Calif., to discover and develop synthetic compounds thatmimic the action of cytokines. The three-year agreement,which was signed in June, pairs Arris' expertise in structure-based drug design with Amgen's proven strength in cytokineR&D, especially for erythropoietin.

Arris also is collaborating with Kabi Pharmacia AB of Swedenon synthetic orally active versions of cytokines to treatinflammatory disease. The collaboration, announced in April,could be worth as much as $30 million to Arris. As part of thearrangement, Kabi took an equity stake in Arris, but at thetime, John Walker, Arris' president and chief executive officer,said the company's existing investors (primarily venturecapitalists) remained majority shareholders.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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