Sphinx Pharmaceuticals Corp. said Monday that it has filed foran initial public offering of 3 million shares with a proposedprice of between $10 and $12 per share.

The Durham, N.C., company is developing small-molecule drugsbased on the role of cell membrane lipids, also called secondmessengers, in regulating cellular processes. Lipid secondmessengers carry messages within cells.

Most advanced is Sphinx's protein kinase C program. PKCs are afamily of enzymes, regulated by lipid second messengers, thatplay a role in important cellular functions.

Sphinx hopes to file in 1992 investigational new drugapplications to begin Phase I trials of PKCs to treat psoriasisand solid tumors.

In November, Sphinx signed a four-year collaborativepartnership with Eli Lilly and Co. to develop drugs targeted atPKCs to treat cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory disordersand central nervous system diseases. As part of the deal, Lillymade a $4 million equity investment in Sphinx.

Sphinx previously raised $11 million in two rounds of financingsince 1988. Investors are Oxford Partners, Matuschka VenturePartners, Intersouth Partners, Rothschild Ventures Inc., S.R.One Ltd. and John Hadley Ventures.

Underwriters Lehman Brothers and Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.have a 450,000-share overallotment option.

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