Gilead Sciences Inc. said Monday that it has filed for an initialpublic offering of 3 million shares of common stock at aproposed price of $12 to $14 per share.

Gilead is developing drugs based on nucleotides, the buildingblocks of DNA and RNA. The company, which is targeting viralinfections, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disease andcancer, is the last of the so-called antisense companies to gopublic this year.

In July 1990, Gilead formed a $20 million corporatepartnership with Glaxo Holding plc to develop anti-cancertherapeutics. The deal included an $8 million equityinvestment by Glaxo.

Gilead, which doesn't yet have drugs in clinical trials, hasfocused its research in three related areas that have broadenedits focus beyond antisense.

It is developing small molecules, nucleotide analogs that workinside the cell to interfere with proteins necessary forreplication.

Its aptamer program is based on oligonucleotide analogsmodified to bind to and inhibit proteins outside the cell.

The third program involves code blockers that stop the geneticcode at the DNA or RNA level through triple helixes thatinterfere with gene expression at the duplex DNA level, andantisense targeted at messenger RNA.

Of the other antisense companies, Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc.(NASDAQ:ISIP) of Carlsbad, Calif., closed its 2.5 million-shareIPO in May at $10 and this month sold an additional 1 millionshares at $12.50. A 2.5 million-share IPO filed in November byGenta Inc. of San Diego hasn't closed yet. Its hoped-for price is$9 to $11 a share.

In September, Gilead raised more than $20 million in a thirdround of venture financing. Gilead raised $12 million in twoprevious rounds since 1987, not including the Glaxoinvestment.

If the offering is completed, the Foster City, Calif., company willhave 12.4 million shares outstanding. Underwriters Robertson,Stephens & Co. and Hambrecht & Quist Inc. have a 450,000-share overallotment option. -- KB

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