By Karen Pihl-Carey

Texas Biotechnology Corp. could raise gross proceeds in the range of $100 million through the sale of 5 million shares of common stock registered with the SEC on Wednesday.

The public offering includes an option for the underwriters to purchase an additional 750,000 shares to cover overallotments. PaineWebber Inc. and Prudential Vector Healthcare Group, both of New York, and Chicago-based First Union Securities Inc. are managing the offering.

The company¿s stock (AMEX:TXB) opened Wednesday at $20.812 and later closed at $19.75. The stock closed Thursday at $19.

Texas Biotechnology intends to use proceeds from the offering to fund clinical development of Novastan and its other product candidates, as well as continued research and development and general corporate purposes.

Following the offering, the company will have 39.39 million outstanding shares. It had $15.17 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments as of Dec. 31.

Last month, the Houston-based company received an approvable letter from the FDA for Novastan for the prevention and treatment of thrombosis in patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The company expects to receive final approval in the second quarter and to launch the product in the U.S. in the second half of this year. It is currently under review in Canada. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 23, 2000, p. 1.)

Novastan is targeted at patients who have adverse immune reactions to heparin. Texas Biotechnology expects to submit a supplemental new drug application for patients who have heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) and plan to undergo angioplasty. Other future indications of the drug could include treating HIT patients undergoing hemodialysis, as well as patients who suffer from acute ischemic stroke. The drug is marketed in Japan for the last indication.

In addition to the development of Novastan, proceeds from the public offering will go toward further clinical development of Texas Biotechnology¿s candidates sitaxsentan, TBC1269 and TBC3711.

Sitaxsentan is in a Phase IIa open-label clinical trial as a treatment for pulmonary hypertension and congestive heart failure. The company expects to complete the trial in the third quarter and to begin Phase IIb/III trials by the first quarter of 2001. TBC1269 completed a Phase II trial in 1998 involving intravenous use of the drug in asthma, and the company intends to continue further development. TBC3711 is in preclinical development for the prevention of congestive heart failure and hypertension.

The company also has products in preclinical development to treat multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.