By Mary Welch

Corixa Corp. plans to sell 2 million shares of common stock, which at Wednesday¿s opening price of $51, would result in $109 million windfall for the Seattle company.

In addition, an existing stockholder plans to sell 250,000 shares but the company will not receive any of those proceeds.

The company intends to use the proceeds to fund product development and clinical research as well as make acquisitions of technologies or companies.

Prior to the offering, the company had about 18.9 million shares outstanding.

Underwriting the offering are Warburg Dillon Read LLC, Lehman Brothers Inc. and Prudential Vector Healthcare, all of New York, and Pacific Growth Equities Inc., of San Francisco.

The company is in a SEC-imposed quiet period and could not comment.

Although Corixa didn¿t specify what type of acquisitions it might be in the market for, it does have a history in this area.

In June, it paid $56 million for Ribi ImmunoChem Research Inc., of Hamilton, Mont., and also acquired Anergen Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., for $7.1 million, and GenQuest Inc., of Seattle, for $12 million. (See BioWorld Today, June 11, 1999, p. 1.)

Corixa recently combined with QLT Therapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia, to expand photodynamic therapy (PDT) into new disease areas. QLT will evaluate whether Corixa¿s compounds in combination with its photodynamic therapy could prove useful in the treatment of diseases not ordinarily susceptible to PDT. Corixa¿s compounds were obtained as part of the purchase of Ribi. (See BioWorld Today, March 6, 2000, p. 1.)

Corixa is also preparing to meet with the FDA to determine if it has enough clinical data to file a biologics license application for Melacine, a melanoma vaccine, also procured from the purchase of Ribi.

Also obtained from Ribi were MPL, an adjuvant immunostimulant for potential application in vaccines; RC-529, a next-generation synthetic adjuvant; and RC-552, a synthetic compound for use in protecting against reperfusion injury in patients undergoing cardiac surgery or angiolasty. The FDA has indicated that RC-552 could proceed to Phase II/III trials with appropriate preclinical data.

The company recently received interim Phase I/II data on AnergiX.RA, a synthetic peptide vaccine for rheumatoid arthritis that was obtained from Anergen.

On Dec. 31, the company reported $26.5 million in revenues for the year. It reported a net loss of $60.7 million, or $3.91 per share. The company had $780,000 in cash.

The company¿s stock (NASDAQ:CRXA) closed Wednesday at $52.75, down $1.75.