By Lisa Seachrist

Washington Editor

Lorus Therapeutics Inc. is looking to raise C$30 million (US$20.52 million) in a public offering expected to close at the end of the month.

The Toronto-based company filed a preliminary short-form prospectus with regulatory authorities in Canada, and will offer the shares only on Canadian exchanges. The exact number of shares and the price of the shares will be determined at the close of the offering.

Lead underwriter for the offering is HSBC Securities Inc., of Toronto. Yorkton Securities Inc., TD Securities Inc. and Dominick & Dominick Securities Inc., all of Toronto, also served as underwriters. The company is offering the underwriters an option on additional shares to cover overallotments.

Lorus is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the research and development of cancer therapies. The company intends to use the proceeds of its offering to begin a Phase III clinical trial for its lead product, Virulizin, as a treatment for pancreatic cancer. Virulizin is a potent and unique activator of human macrophages, and, as such, stimulates immune cells¿ tumor-fighting ability. The drug is purified from bovine bile.

In addition to Virulizin, Lorus has an antisense cancer product, GTI-2040, in Phase I clinical testing. The company is readying another antisense product (GTI-2501) for the clinic. Both of these products are designed to prevent disease-related proteins from being made by halting protein production at the messenger RNA level. These products were acquired when Lorus bought Genesense Technologies Inc. in April 1999. (See BioWorld Today, April 15, 1999, p. 1.)

Some of the proceeds of the offering also will go to developing Lorus¿ small-molecule anticancer drugs. The company has NC 381 and NC 384 in late-stage preclinical development. These products deplete cells of calcium and inhibit the production of factors needed for cell growth.

Lorus¿ stock (OTCBB:LORFF) closed Wednesday at $2.531, down 59.37 cents.