* Prices shares at $16 vs $18-$20 range-underwriter
* Sells 5.3 mln shares, raises about $84.8 mln-underwriter
* Expected to trade on Nasdaq under symbol "AMRS"
NEW YORK, Sept 27 Amyris Inc (AMRS.O), which uses yeast to convert plant sugars into the building blocks of anti-malarial drugs, priced shares in its initial public offering below the range on Monday, according to an underwriter.
The company sold 5.3 million shares for $16 each, raising about $84.8 million. It had planned to sell 5.3 million shares for $18 to $20 each.
French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA (SASY.PA) is expected to begin distributing anti-malarial drugs based on Amyris' technology in 2012.
Amyris is currently in the process of working with Brazilian sugar and ethanol producers to create chemicals that can be used in detergents, cosmetics, perfumes, industrial lubricants and diesel.
Amyris's total revenue has increased each year since 2005 but it has posted increasing losses each year. In the six months ended June 30 the company posted a net loss attributable to stockholders of $36.1 million on total revenue of $26.36 million.
The Emeryville, California-based company's backers include Total Gas & Power, and funds affiliated with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Khosla Ventures and TPG Biotechnology Partners.
It said it would use proceeds from the IPO for capital expenditures, working capital and general corporate purposes, including building production facilities.
Underwriters on the Amyris IPO were led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. The shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq on Tuesday under the symbol "AMRS." (Reporting by Clare Baldwin and Maria Aspan)