Strong demand let Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. raise $300 million - a third more than the company expected - through the sale of convertible subordinated notes, due in September 2007.

"We're a growing company, and we have a drug discovery platform we're investing in," said Vertex spokesman Michael Partridge. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company said earlier it aimed to raise $200 million. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 12, 2000, p. 1.)

The money will pay for clinical trials, preclinical studies and research and development, and will be used for investing in technologies that support Vertex's "chemogenomics" approach, as well as general corporate purposes.

"That's pretty broad," Partridge admitted, but more specific plans were not disclosed.

Vertex will call for redemption next month of $175 million worth of convertible subordinated notes issued this spring. (See BioWorld Today, March 6, 2000, p. 1.)

"We have some new investors who were not purchasers of the convertible bonds we issued in March," Partridge said.

The company has one product on the market - Agenerase (amprenavir), an HIV protease inhibitor - and seven compounds in Phase II trials. Vertex's stock (NASDAQ:VRTX) closed Thursday at $76.625, up $0.875. - Randall Osborne

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