Transkaryotic Therapies Inc. (TKT) announced Thursday that ithas filed a registration statement with the Securities andExchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering (IPO)of 2.5 million shares of common stock.

The Cambridge, Mass., company intends to price the sharesbetween $9 and $11, which could potentially gross between$22.5 million and $27.5 million.

This is the first IPO filed by a biotechnology company sinceApril 8, when Telor Ophthalmic Pharmaceuticals Inc.(NASDAQ:TELR) offered 2.5 million shares, hoping for $12-14per share; Telor's offering closed May 12 with the shares goingfor $8.

Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. will co-managethe TKT offering. They have been granted a 30-dayoverallotment option to purchase an additional 375,000 sharesof common stock.

TKT, founded in 1988 on research emanating from HarvardUniversity laboratories, has focused its efforts on developingand commercializing non-viral gene therapies for the long-termtreatment of various diseases, including cancer, diabetes,hemophilia, hypercholesterolemia, osteoporosis and severeanemia, and short stature.

TKT's gene therapy approach involves introducing correctivegenes into a patient's cells via chemical or physicalmanipulation rather than retro- or adenoviral vectors. Once thegenetic material has been delivered to those cells, they areimplanted back into the patient. TKT said it is also developingproprietary gene targeting and gene isolation technologies toenhance and support its gene therapy system.

The company has recently licensed the technology for anumber of genes that should facilitate its gene therapy efforts.For instance, in January, TKT received an exclusive license forthe gamma carboxylase gene from the University of NorthCarolina, Chapel Hill.

TKT will use this gene to develop therapeutics for treatinghemophilia B, a bleeding disorder. The carboxylase protein isresponsible for a critical modification of the blood clottingprotein Factor IX. Without this modification, Factor IX isinactive.

TKT had obtained a non-exclusive license on the gene for factorIX from British Technology Group plc in April 1992. And fordeveloping a gene therapy for treating hypercholesterolemia,Transkaryotic Therapies licensed in June 1992 the non-exclusive rights to the gene for low-density lipoprotein (LDL)receptor protein from the University of Texas SouthwesternMedical Center in Dallas.

Ideally, the LDL receptors, engineered into affected patients,would be capable of removing excess cholesterol from theirblood.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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