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NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Friday it has launched a public offering of 3 million shares of its common stock at $15 per share.

A spokesman for the Salt Lake-based company said it also has granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to 450,000 shares to cover over-allotments, if any.The offering is expected to raise $42 million for NPS, assuming the over-allotment option is not exercised.

Managing underwriters for the offering are Vector Securities International Inc., Salomon Brothers Inc. and UBS Securities LLC.

NPS Pharmaceuticals is a development-stage company founded in 1986. It is working in the discovery and development of orally active, small molecule drugs that target cell surface receptors and ion channels.

It says it is applying its technology and research to hyperparathyroidism, osteoporosis and central nervous system disorders, including chronic pain and brain damage from stroke.

A copy of the prospectus is available from Vector Securities International Inc., 1751 Lake Cook Road, Suite 350, Deerfield, IL 60015, Attention: Prospectus Department or fax to (847) 940-9485.