By Brady Huggett

CV Therapeutics Inc. raised $100 million through a public offering, something the biotechnology sector hasn¿t seen much of this year.

CV Therapeutics sold 2.02 million shares at $49.50 per share. SG Cowen Securities Corp., of New York, is acting as underwriter.

Chris Chai, treasurer and senior director of investor relations at CV Therapeutics, told BioWorld Today the company is in a quiet period and could not comment on the offering.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company has about 19.6 million shares outstanding, excluding the offering. As of March 31, it had approximately $283.5 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities.

It posted a net loss of $15.1 million for 2001¿s first quarter, more than double the $7.1 million loss it saw in the first three months of 2000. However, it spent about $10 million more on research and development in 2001¿s first quarter ($16.9 million) than it did in the same three-month period in 2000 ($6.7 million). CV Therapeutics cited its ranolazine and CVT-510 programs as reasons for the increased spending on research and development.

It was the ranolazine program that dragged CV Therapeutics¿ stock down $21.25, or about 35 percent, in January when the company said it would enroll an additional 186 patients in its Phase III study, named CARISA (Combination Assessment of Ranolazine in Stable Angina). Ranolazine is in a class of drugs known as partial fatty oxidation, or pFOX, inhibitors, and is being developed for the treatment of chronic angina. The decision to increase enrollment in the CARISA trial was made following a blinded interim assessment. At the time, the company said it expected to complete the additional enrollment by the second quarter. CV¿s stock closed that day at $39.63. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 8, 2001.)

CV Therapeutics also has CVT-510, its A1 adenosine receptor agonist, in Phase II trials for the potential treatment of atrial arrhythmias. Beneath that in its pipeline, it has CVT-3146, an A2A adenosine receptor agonist, in Phase I trials for use as an adjunctive pharmacologic agent in cardiac perfusion imaging studies.

Thus far, the year has seen little action on the biotechnology public offering front, even less so for U.S. companies. U.S. companies that completed follow-ons this year are Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Baltimore, which pulled in $46.5 million in January. In February, Praecis Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., raised $186.7 million; EntreMed Inc., of Rockville, Md., raised $24.5 million; and Aviron Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., raised $400 million ($200 million of it in convertible notes). Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Tarrytown, N.Y., raised $162.5 million in March.

Initial public offerings have been even scarcer, with three U.S. companies getting their IPOs through since the start of 2001: Seattle Genetics Inc., Third Wave Technologies Inc. and Exact Sciences Corp., which has a diagnostics focus.

CV Therapeutics¿ stock (NASDAQ:CVTX) jumped $3.81 Thursday, or about 7.6 percent, to close at $53.65.

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