MicroProbe Corp. announced that it has raised $16.5 million in itsinitial public offering (IPO).

The company sold 2.5 million shares of common stock at $6.50 pershare and an additional 2.5 million redeemable common stockpurchase warrants at 10 cents each. The five-year warrants areexercisable after one year at $6.50 per share, explained GregorySessler, MicroProbe's chief financial officer.

The securities are listed on the NASDAQ National Market System asMPRO and MPROW, respectively. MicroProbe filed for the IPO on Aug.26.

Co-underwriters D. Blech and Co. Inc. and Commonwealth Associateshave an option to purchase an additional 375,000 shares and375,000 warrants to cover overallotments.

MicroProbe of Bothell, Wash., will net roughly $14.3 million from theoffering (excluding overallotments), Sessler told BioWorld. He addedthat the proceeds bring the company's pro forma cash up to about$17 million; it also now has 6.9 million shares outstanding.

MicroProbe is designing and synthesizing oligonucleotides to be usedboth as therapeutics and diagnostics. In therapeutics, the company isdeveloping gene blockers, which specifically bind to and inactivatedisease-gene DNA; and protein blockers, which act at least in part byselectively inhibiting certain proteins that are critical to the growthand reproduction of cells and viruses.

MicroProbe has already developed and is marketing DNA probe-based diagnostic systems. One of these, the Affirm VP system, is adirect DNA probe test for in-office diagnosis of vaginitis. The test hasbeen on the market in the U.S. since October 1992.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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