By Lisa Seachrist

Washington Editor

Toronto-based pharmacogenomics specialist Visible Genetics Inc. raised $76 million in a follow-on public offering aimed at providing the company working capital as it moves to provide a genetic diagnostic for HIV genotyping.

The company sold 2 million shares of common stock at a price of $38 a share. When the company announced its intention to raise the funds, the company was aiming to sell the stock for $93 a share in order to raise $186 million. (See BioWorld Today, March 14, 2000, p.1.)

However, the March slide in biotechnology stocks has hit Visible Genetics as well. The stock (NASDAQ:VGIN) closed Thursday at $36.375 a share, down $3.8125.

The managing underwriters are FleetBoston Robertson Stephens Inc., PaineWebber Inc., Warburg Dillon Read LLC and Roth Capital Partners Inc. The company has extended the underwriters 300,000 shares of stock to cover any overallotments.

With completion of the offering, Visible Genetics has 14.78 million shares of stock outstanding. At the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, the company had $42.7million in cash.

Visible Genetics makes integrated DNA sequencing systems that analyze genetic information to improve the treatment of selected diseases. The company's OpenGene System consists of automated DNA sequencers, disposable gel cassettes, related equipment and software and disease-specific GeneKits.

The company is targeting HIV as its first clinical diagnostic application by allowing physicians to manage the resistance profile of HIV-infected patients and tailor drug regimens to keep the virus at bay.

It also has developed a kit for HLA tissue typing and is in the process of developing GeneKits for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and tuberculosis.