By Randall Osborne

West Coast Editor

A month after filing a shelf registration for up to $500 million worth of securities, CuraGen Corp. said it is offering 4 million new shares of common stock, which would raise $259.5 million for the company at Friday's closing price of $64.875.

New Haven, Conn.-based CuraGen is adding 600,000 shares as overallotment options. The offering, made through a prospectus supplement related to the shelf registration, is jointly lead-managed by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Lehman Brothers, both of New York, and co-managed by Dain Rauscher Wessels, of Minneapolis; Bear, Stearns & Co., of New York; Prudential Vector Healthcare, of New York; and Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, of San Francisco.

After the offering, CuraGen will have 41.5 million shares outstanding, said CuraGen spokesman Mark Vincent, adding that the company is in a quiet period as required by SEC rules.

The company's shares (NASDAQ:CRGN) closed Monday at $60.984, down $3.89.

CuraGen said when it filed the shelf registration that the money would be directed toward internal programs with preclinical candidates, and would help strengthen the firm's functional genomics platform. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 10, 2000.)

Earlier this year, CuraGen used $32.5 million in private financing to form a majority-owned subsidiary, called 454 Corp., to develop technologies for drug discovery, preclinical development and pharmacogenetics, and the parent company reported progress with antibody drug targets in a deal with Abgenix Inc., of Fremont, Calif. - discovering 24 for further evaluation. (See BioWorld Today, June 7, 2000; and Aug. 16, 2000.)

The collaboration with Abgenix was begun last December, aiming to find up to 120 fully human antibody drug candidates to fight cancer, autoimmune disorders and other illnesses. CuraGen is using two gene discovery technologies, SeqCalling, a sequence database product, and GeneCalling, which produces fully annotated databases that are integrated with PathCalling, a pathway and target discovery technology.

CuraGen also has deals with Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass.; Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco; COR Therapeutics Inc., also of South San Francisco; and Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., of Nutley, N.J., among others.