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MINRAD TO GO PUBLIC BY ACQUIRING DEFUNCT FIRM

Minrad Inc., a Buffalo medical device and anesthesia manufacturer, is going public.

But the company is taking a less conventional -- and less expensive -- route to getting its shares onto the stock market.

Minrad has agreed to merge with a defunct California company, Technology Acquisition Corp., that is publicly traded on the OTC Bulletin Board. The bulletin board is home to smaller and riskier companies that typically do not meet the standards to have their shares traded on a major exchange, such as the New YorkStock Exchange or the Nasdaq.

Minrad, through a series of transactions, will assume effective control of the California shell company and reincorporate the firm in Delaware under the Minrad name.

The transaction is expected to be completed within a month, John McNeirney, Minrad's senior vice president and chief technology officer, said Tuesday.

William H. Burns Jr., Minrad's chairman and chief executive officer, will retain that position with the publicly traded entity. The company's headquarters will remain in Buffalo, McNeirney said.

Minrad, which has about 28 employees at its headquarters at 847 Main St., was formed in 1996 with its main product a laser-guided medical device that increases the accuracy of surgical procedures while minimizing the amount of radiation that medical professionals are exposed to.

But sales of its image guidance device and the consumable products that go with it did not live up to the expectations that Minrad executives initially had for it because of "issues with ease of use," the company said.

Minrad now is working on a second-generation of its SabreSource device and hopes to introduce it to the market during the fourth quarter, McNeirney said.

Minrad branched out in December 2000 by acquiring the inhalation anesthetic business of Celltech Medeva, which operates out of a factory in Bethlehem, Pa. Since then, Minrad has reduced the costs of operating the Bethlehem plant, which employs 28, and is now retooling the facility so it can produce sevoflurane, a general anesthetic.

Minrad also is working on a program that would make medical devices and inhaled anesthetics that would allow for conscious sedation in patients, allowing them to remain aware and responsive during medical procedures. Minrad officials believe it could be a substitute for drugs such as nitrous oxide, although the effort is still in the developmental stage.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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