By Randall Osborne

West Coast Editor

The week ended with a bang for biotech, with Friday proving itself a day of high finance, as four firms priced stock sales.

Human Genome Sciences Inc. (HGS) priced its offering of 11 million shares at $75, raising about $825 million, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. added $209 million to its coffers, along with Insmed Inc., which garnered $65.31 million and Dendreon Corp., which pulled down $39.06 million.

Rockville, Md.-based HGS said a week ago it would offer 8 million shares pursuant to a shelf registration filed in September. The offering would have raised about $807 million at the opening price Oct. 19. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 20, 2000.)

Just over a week before that, HGS disclosed that Philadelphia-based Schering-Plough Corp. would develop and commercialize a new type of interferon discovered by HGS. It was the first such deal, and was followed in subsequent days by two more. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 10, 2000; and July 3, 1996.)

HGS, which has granted underwriters an option to buy 1.65 million more shares to cover overallotments, will use the proceeds to study protein-based, gene-based and antibody-based drugs, and to pay for research, development, patents, manufacturing and acquisitions, as well as general corporate purposes.

The offering was led by Credit Suisse First Boston and co-managed by Goldman, Sachs & Co., Lehman Brothers, CIBC World Markets, J.P. Morgan & Co. and Dain Rauscher Wessels. HGS has 109.7 million shares outstanding.

The company's stock (NASDAQ:HGSI) closed Friday at $88.125, up $6.50.

Alexion, of New Haven, Conn., made its sale pursuant to a $300 million shelf offering, selling 2.3 million shares to U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 10, 2000.)

The company will use the money for various corporate purposes, including development of the pipeline, which includes two lead compounds in eight programs.

A Phase II clinical trial for 5G1.1-SC for cardiovascular disease is under way, and preclinical studies are exploring other indications.

An autoimmune disease therapeutic, 5G1.1, has completed Phase I/II trials, and is in preclinical evaluation for another indication. Several xenograft cell product candidates and another autoimmune disease treatment, MP4, are making their way through preclinical stages.

Alexion has 15.49 million shares outstanding. Its shares (NASDAQ:ALXN) closed Friday at $94.375, down $5.56.

Insmed, of Richmond, Va., said it sold 5.5 million shares at $11.875 per share, raising $65.31 million. Selling shareholders offered another 1 million at the same price, bringing the total to $77.18 million.

The company gets none of the proceeds from the sale by shareholders, who granted underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 975,000 shares to cover overallotments. Managing the underwriters is Robertson Stephens Inc., with Banc of America Securities LLC and Prudential Vector Healthcare Group serving as co-managers.

Insmed was shooting for as much as $97.5 million when it filed for the offering. The company signed a deal over the summer to develop its insulin sensitizer in Japan and Asia, and is pushing its potential hormone replacement therapy, SomatoKine, toward market as well. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 1, 2000.)

With Dublin, Ireland-based Elan Corp. plc, Insmed is testing SomatoKine in a Phase II trial for functional recovery from osteoporotic hip fracture. Insmed by itself is testing the product in a Phase II trial for Type I diabetes.

The offering leaves Insmed with 32.65 million shares outstanding. Insmed's stock (NASDAQ:INSM) closed Friday at $12.062, up 18.75 cents.

Dendreon, of Seattle, sold 2.5 million shares at $15.625 each, to raise $39.06 million, with underwriters granted up to 375,000 shares for overallotments. Prudential Vector Healthcare acted as lead manager and SG Cowen Securities Corp. and Pacific Growth Equities Inc. served as co-managers.

The amount falls under the project total of $53.8 million, based on Dendreon's stock price when the registration was filed. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 12, 2000.)

Dendreon develops vaccines for the treatment of cancer using antigen discovery, antigen engineering and dendritic cell technologies. It has a prostate cancer vaccine, Provenge (formerly called APC8015), in Phase III trials and a therapeutic vaccine for B-cell malignancies, Mylovenge, in Phase II trials. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 27, 2000.)

The company, which recently entered a collaboration with the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute to develop immunotherapies, has 24.16 million shares outstanding after the offering.

Dendreon's stock (NASDAQ:DNDN) closed Friday at $15.125, down 62.5 cents.

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