Shaman Pharmaceuticals goes public

SAN CARLOS, Calif. -- Shaman Pharmaceuticals Inc., which plans to develop drugs from native healers in the world's rain forests, went public Wednesday with a stock offering that raised $45 million.

Shaman sold out its initial public offering of 3 million shares at $15 a share.


The issue then closed at $14 in over-the-counter trading.

The offering, managed by S.G. Warburg Securities and First Boston Corp., was boosted by 500,000 shares this week. The issue went public three weeks after the filing of registration papers, a relatively fast turnaround.

Shaman, which was founded in 1989, plans to obtain information from native healers and return part of its profits through its nonprofit Healing Forest Conservancy subsidiary.

Shaman has two products in clinical trials -- provir, which is designed to treat respiratory viruses, and virend, a herpes simplex treatment. It is also developing a treatment for thrush, a fungal disease.

Despite its relative youth, Shaman has attracted wide interest. Some estimates have said that deforestation is eliminating 50 plant species a day.

Shaman's 21-member scientific advisory board includes Baruch S. Blumberg, who received a Nobel prize in 1976 for his discovery of the hepatitis B antigen. Additionally, Eli Lilly & Co. has bought a $4 million equity interest in the company and is involved with a joint research and development.


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