Transkaryotic Therapies Inc. (TKT) announced Wednesday thatit has postponed its initial public offering (IPO) until financialmarket conditions improve.

Through underwriters Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley &Co. Inc., the company had intended to price its 2.5 millionshares of common stock at $9 to $11, which would havegrossed from $22.5 million to $27.5 million. TKT intends tomaintain that target, waiting "... until financial markets supportvaluations more closely aligned with the commercial potentialof the company's gene therapy and supporting technologies."

When TKT of Cambridge, Mass., filed for its IPO on July 1, itbecame just the second biotechnology company since April 8 toventure onto the IPO waters, becalmed by the uncertainties ofhealth-care reform, cost-containment and drug pricing. (TelorOphthalmic Pharmaceuticals Inc. in April offered 2.5 millionshares at $12-14 per share; the comany closed its offering onMay 12, settling for a price of $8 a share).

The first company to embark on an IPO since April wasGenzyme Transgenics Corp. (NASDAQ:GZTC) of Framingham,Mass., which filed on May 14 and completed its IPO on July 9.Genzyme Transgenics sold 1.5 million shares at $8 each,though it had hoped to sell 2 million shares at $9 to $11.

Later, in the dog days of July, Aprogenex Inc., a DNA probediagnostic company located in Houston, filed for an IPO of 1.45million shares, hoping to garner from $10 to $12 per share.Representatives of the managing underwriter, H.J. Meyers & Co.Inc., told BioWorld that the offering, filed on July 27, shouldcomplete in late September or early October.

TKT said that the dearth of public financing and thepostponement of its IPO will not affect its R&D programs onnon-viral gene therapies. "We will continue to pursue ourclinical and preclinical gene therapy programs aggressively,"said Richard Selden, TKT's chief scientific officer and a companyfounder.

"We expect to file an investigational new drug (IND) applicationin 1993 for the delivery of human growth hormone for thetreatment of cachexia, or muscle wasting in cancer patients,and expect to file an IND in 1994 for the delivery of factor IXfor the treatment of hemophilia B," he said.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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