Gen-Probe Inc. began its initial public stock offering Wednesday in hopes of raising $17.5 million through the sale of 2.5 million shares priced at $7 each. The price was under the $9 to $11 range targeted in the company's preliminary prospectus covering the offering.
Proceeds from the sale of shares, all of which are newly issued by the company, will be used to pay for research and to expand marketing and manufacturing capabilities. The stock sale is being underwritten by Merrill Lynch Capital Markets and Alex Brown & Sons.
A manufacturer of DNA-probe- based medical diagnostic products, Gen-Probe reported a loss of $3.9 million on sales of $2 million for the six months ended June 30. For all of 1986, the company reported a loss of $4.6 million on revenues of $171,000.
The company was founded in 1984 by former Hybritech Inc. executives. Hybritech, now a unit of Eli Lilly & Co., will be Gen-Probe's largest shareholder after the offering, owning 22% of total shares outstanding.