Neurex Corp. announced Thursday that it has successfullycompleted its initial public offering (IPO). The neurotechcompany grossed $16.5 million on sales of 3.3 million shares ofcommon stock at $5 per share. The shares will trade on theNASDAQ National Market System under the symbol NXCO.

Lehman Brothers and Kidder, Peabody & Co. Inc. co-managedthe offering; the underwriters have been granted a 30-dayoverallotment option to purchase an additional 495,000 shares.

Perhaps no biotech IPO has been through more changes ortaken longer to complete than Neurex's. The Menlo Park, Calif.,firm first filed for an IPO in early March 1992. That offering --for 3.5 million shares of common stock at $7 to $9 a share --was underwritten by Morgan Stanley.

But just before Christmas 1992, Neurex changed underwritersand restructured its common stock into two classes: A and B. Atthat point, Lehman Brothers and Kidder Peabody Inc. took onthe task of co-managing the offering. The offering became oneof 3 million shares of class A common stock at $10 to $12 pershare. The intention was to end up with two classes of commonstock outstanding after the offering. The class A stock was to belisted on NASDAQ; the class B to not be traded.

Since that time, Neurex "relaunched the IPO in June '93,"explained chief executive officer Paul Goddard. "It was theinitiation of that process (the red herring is dated June 28) thatled to the completion of this offering," he told BioWorld.

Additionally, Neurex filed another "red herring (the latestversion of the IPO document) on Sept. 15, which wasessentially a pricing amendment" that changed the asking priceof the stock to $5 to $6 per share. It also "dismantled" the classA and B share distinction, Goddard explained. "I've got a stackof red herrings on my desk," he said. "We're obviously pleasedto complete the IPO."

In the long 19 months from IPO start to finish, Neurex signed a$10 millionJdeal with Warner-Lambert Co. and entered humanclinical trials with its first compound, SNX-111. Both stem fromNeurex's main product development strategy, which is todevelop new therapeutics that modulate the activities of thecentral and peripheral nervous system by regulating nerve cellcommunication.

This June, Warner-Lambert took an equity position in Neurexas part of a collaboration on neurological drugs. The twocompanies agreed to share the development costs of potentialdrugs, focusing on compounds that open or shut neuron-specific calcium channels. These channels play a key role incommunication between nerve cells, and inappropriatecommunication can lead to disease or disorders. Warner-Lambert agreed to purchase $7 million in shares in the IPO(which was pending at the time), and another $3 million inshares in connection with Neurex's next public offering.

Neurex's lead compound, SNX-111 -- which is a neuron-specificcalcium channel blocker -- is now in Phase I clinical studies forpreventing neurological damage following cardiac arrest.

Neurex plans to use the proceeds from its IPO for research anddevelopment, including preclinical and clinical testing, workingcapital and other general corporate activities.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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