BioSurface Technology Inc. announced Friday that it has filedan initial public offering of 2 million common stock shares at$10 to $12 per share.

Hambrecht & Quist Inc. and Cowen & Co. are co-managing theoffering. The underwriters have an option to purchase up to300,000 shares to cover overallotments.

The Cambridge, Mass., tissue engineering company intends touse net proceeds from the offering for funding clinical trialsand product research and development activities for its Acticelwound dressings and cartilage repair products. The offeringwill also fund facilities expansion and provide working capitalto support sales of the skin graft product Epicel-CEA.

The company had raised more than $20 million in privatefinancing since its founding in 1987, the most recent being $5.5million in March from unidentified investors who were "almostexclusively Japanese," said David Castaldi, BioSurface'spresident.

BioSurface Technology develops biologically active tissue fromcultured human cells for medical applications. It has alsodeveloped cool storage and cryopreservation techniques toextend the shelf life of its products. BioSurface is alreadymarketing Epicel-CEA skin grafts. Its Acticel wound dressing isin clinicals and its cartilage replacement product Chrondrograftis being developed.

Epicel is a permanent skin replacement for patients with verysevere, full-thickness burns. The company expands in culture apostage stamp-size sample of the burn patient's epidermaltissue about 10,000-fold in three to four weeks, then it'sgrafted back onto the same patient. The cost of an individualskin graft is $400, Castaldi explained, but typically a patientrequires 177 such grafts, which must be done over time.

Epicel-CEA has been on the market since 1988. In the first ninemonths of this year it had $5.4 million in sales, roughly 94percent of the company's overall sales, Castaldi told BioWorld.

The Acticel wound dressing, which consists of cultured humancells derived from foreskins, is currently in pivotal licensingtrials for two indications: deep partial thickness burns and skingraft donor sites. "We plan to initial pivotal trials for pressureulcers, venous ulcers and diabetic ulcers in 1993," Castaldi said.

And the company's Chondrograft, a cartilage replacementproduct consisting of a patient's own chrondrocytes, is still indevelopment. BioSurface will actually commercialize a productthat has been developed by unnamed academic researcherswho have "already treated 38 patients (to correct cartilagedefects in the knee), 22 with more than two years' follow-up,"Castaldi told BioWorld. "This is the first product in our cartilagedevelopment program."

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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