By Brady Huggett

Aviron Inc. filed a universal shelf registration statement with the SEC to offer up to $400 million in securities.

It said in its prospectus it planned to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including capital expenditures, and to meet working capital needs.

Aviron, of Mountain View, Calif., focuses on preventing disease through vaccine technology.

As of Sept. 30, Aviron had about $121 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. It reported a loss of $19.5 million in the third quarter and a $68.2 million loss for the first nine months of the year.

The shelf registration comes on the heels of two $8 million equity stock sales to Acqua Wellington North American Equities Fund Ltd., of New York - one at the beginning of November and the other at the end. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 1, 2000.)

Aviron said it raised those funds for, among other things, the costs associated with the commercialization of FluMist, its intranasally delivered attenuated live vaccine for influenza.

Aviron submitted a biologics license application for FluMist to the FDA on Oct. 31. The BLA originally was submitted in 1998, but the FDA denied it, citing a need for manufacturing data. Aviron said it would not refile in 1999, but set the date for 2001. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 2, 1998 ; and Nov. 16, 1999.)

The majority of Aviron's products under development are live vaccines against viral infections. It has five products in clinical development, including an Epstein-Barr virus vaccine in collaboration with SmithKline Beecham Biologicals, of Rixensart, Belgium, now in Phase II trials. It has a cytomegalovirus vaccine in Phase I and a parainfluenza vaccine delivered intranasally in Phase I. It has vaccines for herpes and respiratory syncytial virus in preclinical development.

Aviron's stock (NASDAQ:AVIR) gained 37.5 cents Monday to close at $63.50. n