AtheroGenics Inc. said it raised $45 million in a public offering by selling 7.2 million shares of common stock at $6.25 per share.

The firm, which sold all of the 7.2 million shares, last week said it planned to offer 6 million shares from a shelf registration statement. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 22, 2003.)

"We had a great deal of demand for the offering," AtheroGenics Chief Financial Officer Mark Colonnese told BioWorld Today. "When the book was coming together, that was the market price that a lot of the orders were being taken at. [The $6.25 price] is roughly the weighted average price for the day [the shares were priced]."

AtheroGenics released the news after the market closed Tuesday. Its shares (NASDAQ:AGIX) climbed $1.05 Wednesday, or 16 percent, to close at $7.62.

Underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to 1.08 million additional shares to cover overallotments. That could add $6.75 million to the offering.

The Atlanta-based company reported in its most recent financial statement a $20.1 million net loss for the nine months ended Sept. 30. It reported about 28.1 million shares outstanding as well as $41.2 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities - a figure that dropped to about $34 million given the company's guidance of $7 million to $8 million in fourth-quarter spending.

The offering was made as part of a shelf registration filed Nov. 13. The prospectus called for the firm to offer up to $75 million of common stock.

AtheroGenics said it would apply a percentage of the net proceeds to Phase III development of AGI-1067, its oral anti-inflammatory drug candidate to treat atherosclerosis.

Earlier this month AtheroGenics began a 4,000-patient pivotal trial of AGI-1067 in coronary heart disease patients. The study will be conducted in 160 U.S., Canadian and South African cardiac centers to evaluate the small molecule's impact on a variety of outcomes, such as death due to coronary disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularization and unstable angina in coronary heart disease patients. The trial is planned to follow patients for an average of 18 months or until a minimum of 1,160 primary events have occurred. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 15, 2003.)

AtheroGenics also said it would direct a portion of the funds to other research and development programs and for general corporate purposes.

Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., of New York, is sole book-running manager for the offering while Lehman Brothers Inc., also of New York, is co-lead manager. Co-managers include Lazard Freres & Co. LLC, of New York, and Adams, Harkness & Hill Inc., of Boston.