By Matthew Willett

Thanksgiving came early for Avigen Inc., which went back for seconds this week, pricing a 694,441-share public offering after gobbling up $62 million from the sale of 1.6 million shares earlier this month.

And the sale at $45.0625 per share represents a 20 percent increase over the company's $37.50 share price from that offering earlier this month. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 3, 2000.)

This new $31 million and the $62 million offering were made under a shelf registration filed with the SEC on Oct. 10 for various securities worth up $120 million. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 12, 2000.)

"Avigen at its core is a platform technology to deliver genes using our AAV [adeno-associated virus] vector system, and currently our lead program is for hemophilia B, and we've been in clinical trials for 17 months," said Tom Paulson, chief financial officer at Avigen. "We have another program for hemophilia A and one in Gaucher's disease and one in Parkinson's disease in the preclinical mode, and we'd like to accelerate development of these programs.

"This funding enables us to move these programs, rather than sequentially, in parallel paths to add the research manpower and facilities to accelerate these programs and hopefully move them into the clinic in a faster time frame," he said.

According to the company's third-quarter filings, it had cash and cash equivalents of $73.39 million and 17 million shares outstanding as of Sept. 30.

Alameda, Calif.-based Avigen's Coagulin-B product for hemophilia B is in Phase I testing, and it plans to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA to begin testing on its hemophilia A therapeutic next year.

Avigen's stock (NASDAQ:AVGN) rose 12.5 cents Wednesday to close at $46.125.