By Brady Huggett

Medarex Inc. filed a shelf registration statement with the SEC to offer up to $500 million in any combination of its common stock, preferred stock, warrants and debt securities.

It said in its prospectus it would use proceeds for general corporate purposes, which may include repaying debts, making additions to its working capital or funding future acquisitions. As of Sept. 30, Medarex had about $386 million in current assets, principally cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities. Company officials could not be reached for comment.

Medarex, of Princeton, N.J., develops monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics to fight cancer and other life-threatening and debilitating diseases. It uses its HuMAb-Mouse transgenic mice to create fully human high-affinity antibodies.

Through a partnership with the pharmaceutical division of Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, Medarex combined its HuMAb-Mouse platform and Kirin's TC Mouse to create a new crossbred mouse that retains the capability to produce all human antibody isotypes with a strong immune response. The mouse was unveiled in early December.

Medarex's collaboration with the Danish biotech company Genmab A/S, of which Medarex owns 33 percent, gives Genmab the right to enter into a five-or-more target genomic partnerships with certain European pharmaceutical companies involving Medarex's human antibody technology. Genmab and Medarex initiated a Phase II trial of the compound HuMax-CD4 in rheumatoid arthritis on Dec. 13.

In October, Medarex joined up with ZymoGenetics Inc., of Seattle, to work on fully human antibody therapeutics. Also in October, Medarex increased its ownership percentage of Paris-based Immuno-Designed Molecules S.A. from 6 percent to 34 percent. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 20, 2000, and Oct. 24, 2000.)

In all, Medarex entered 12 corporate partnerships in 2000, and expects to enter into several new or expanded corporate partnerships in each of the next several years. The financial terms of the partnerships typically include license fees and milestone payments. To date, 26 companies have acquired the rights to Medarex's human antibody technology.