National Editor

The company's stock (NASDAQ:DYAX) closed Tuesday, before the offering was disclosed, at $8.35. It fell 20 cents Wednesday to close at $8.15.

Stephen Galliker, vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer of Cambridge, Mass.-based Dyax, said the company was in a quiet period as required by the SEC, but a press release noted that the sale amount was based on the five-day average closing price.

Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including funding Dyax's ongoing clinical trials.

Near the end of December, Dyax reported positive initial results from its Phase I/II study of DX-88 in CABG patients. The study, which recruited 42 patients, met a primary endpoint related to DX-88's safety and pharmacokinetic profile.

The small-protein drug also provided about a 50 percent reduction in total blood transfusion needs, as compared to placebo. That outcome is considered in line with the standard-of-care treatment for CABG patients: Trasylol (aprotinin), the polypeptide proteinase inhibitor from Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer AG. DX-88 has the advantage of being recombinantly produced, thus reducing immunogenic risks.

The next step is a larger Phase II trial, expected to begin in the first half of 2004, testing patients at high risk for bleeding during CABG surgery.

Dyax's biopharmaceutical business is based on its phage display technology, which is used to identify proteins, peptides and antibodies that bind with high affinity and high specificity to targets. The company out-licenses the technology while pursuing its own programs, which include DX-88 in the CABG indication - the drug also is partnered with Cambridge, Mass.-based Genzyme Corp. for hereditary angioedema. For the latter indication, DX-88 has received orphan drug status in both the U.S. and Europe.

Also in Phase II is Dyax's other product, DX-890, an inhibitor of human neutrophil elastase being evaluated in a Phase II study for cystic fibrosis in a deal with Debiopharm SA, of Lausanne, Switzerland.