Washington Editor

Myriad Genetics Inc. raised $50.2 million through the sale of 3.4 million shares of common stock at $14.75 apiece.

Following the transaction, the Salt Lake City-based firm said it would have 30.6 million outstanding shares and approximately $149 million in cash.

Myriad's stock (NASDAQ:MYGN) Friday fell 62 cents to close at $15.39.

Myriad's financial year ends June 30, at which time the company anticipates recording a $40 million loss for the year. Myriad raised $57.3 million through a pursuant offering of 3 million shares of stock in November 2002. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 25, 2002.)

Also in the third quarter, the company's predictive medicine product revenues increased to $11.7 million, up from $9.3 million in the same quarter of the prior year, an increase of 26 percent. Myriad's predictive medicine line includes tests for breast and ovarian cancer, hereditary colon cancer and melanoma, Bill Hockett, company vice president of corporate communications, told BioWorld Today.

The company said it has sufficient funds to carry it through development of its lead candidate, Flurizan (R-flurbiprofen), a product for Alzheimer's disease and prostate cancer.

Myriad licensed Flurizan (also called MPC-7869) from Encore Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Loma Linda, Calif., in December 2000. The compound is a proprietary component of the marketed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug flurbiprofen, sold under the brand name Ansaid by Pharmacia Corp., of Peapack, N.J.

Flurizan is being studied in a Phase II trial in more than 200 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. The one-year study period of the Phase II trial should be completed during the first calendar quarter of 2005, the company said.

The Phase II trial is designed to demonstrate the efficacy of Flurizan in the slowing, as well as the potential reversal, of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease patients by lowering the toxic peptide Abeta42, the primary culprit in Alzheimer's disease and a major component of senile plaques in the brain. Myriad believes that Flurizan has the potential to become the first drug on the market for Alzheimer's disease that can alter its underlying course.

Meanwhile, Myriad expects to present Phase I data on Flurizan at the Ninth Annual National Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders July 17-22 in Philadelphia, Hockett said.

Flurizan also is being studied in a Phase II/III trial in prostate cancer, expected to wrap up during the first quarter of 2006.

Myriad's other drug candidates include MPC-6827 for pancreatic cancer, MPI-176716 for ovarian cancer, MPI-49839 for the treatment of AIDS and MPC-4505 for chemotherapy-induced emesis (nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy).

The company anticipates filing investigational new drug applications on at least two of the candidates in 2004, Hockett said.

In other business, Myriad is involved in a three-year partnership valued at up to $34 million with Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., to identify genes and drug targets for the diagnosis and treatment of depression. (See BioWorld Today, March 13, 2002.)

Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., of New York, is acting as the underwriter for the offering.