With five clinical trials on schedule to start this year, Genzyme Molecular Oncology (GMO) is looking to raise $18.9 million in an offering of up to 1,464,100 shares of common stock to a limited number of purchasers.

The company is offering the shares at $12.91 each to a group of current institutional investors that have expressed a desire to increase their stake in the Cambridge, Mass.-based company. The limited offering comes in the wake of a postponed public offering earlier this year that was designed to raise $72.75 million. (See BioWorld Today, March 24, 2000, p.1.)

"The offering was placed on hold due to market conditions," said Elizabeth Heller, public relations specialist for GMO. "We do have short-term financing needs, so we decided to move forward with a smaller offering. We will be starting five additional clinical trials this year."

The company is developing a new generation of cancer therapeutics. Its product pipeline includes an ex vivo gene therapy in a Phase I/II trial for melanoma, and a cell therapy vaccine in a Phase I/II trial for breast cancer.

In addition, the company is scheduled to begin an in vivo Phase I/II gene therapy trial for the treatment of melanoma. The company also has a cell therapy technology that fuses a patient's cancer cells with their dendritic cells - potent immune system cells - in an attempt to stimulate an immune response to the cancer cells. GMO will begin two Phase I/II trials in melanoma using this technology and two Phase I/II trials in kidney cancer as well.

An operating division of Genzyme Corp., also of Cambridge, GMO has 13.6 million shares of common stock outstanding. The company's stock (NASDAQ:GZMO) closed Monday at $13.687, up 12 cents. - Lisa Seachrist

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