By Brady Huggett

Avigen Inc. priced its public offering of more than 1.6 million shares at $37.50 per share to raise $62 million through its shelf registration statement.

On Oct. 10, Avigen filed a registration statement with the SEC for various securities worth up to $120 million. The company said in its prospectus that it would use the funding for general corporate purposes.

Under the registration, Avigen, of Alameda, Calif., can offer common stock, shares of preferred stock, warrants to purchase common stock or preferred stock or any combination, either individually or as units consisting of one or more securities, but the aggregate offering price of securities offered cannot exceed $120 million.

After filing the registration, Thomas Paulson, vice president of finance and chief financial officer, told BioWorld Today the registration amount of $120 million was designed to give the company flexibility for whatever financial vehicle made the most sense. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 12, 2000.)

Avigen's gene therapy products are based on the gene delivery system of adeno-associated vectors. Using the process through which viruses deliver genes to cells, Avigen modifies the virus by removing the viral genes and replacing them with genes for therapeutic proteins.

The company has Coagulin-B for hemophilia B patients in Phase I clinical testing. Hemophilia B is a blood-clotting disorder characterized by the reduction or absence of a protein called factor IX. Avigen hopes to expand the trial and file an investigational new drug application for a hemophilia A product in the next year. It also is developing a treatment for Gaucher disease, a therapeutic for Parkinson's disease and b-thalassemia.

Avigen's stock (NASDAQ:AVGN) closed at $43.562 Thursday, up $6.062, or about 16 percent. It has traded between $17 and $89 in the past 52 weeks.

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