By Mary Welch

Advanced Tissue Sciences Inc., which develops and manufactures human-based tissue replacement products for tissue repair and transplantation, registered to sell 5 million shares of its common stock.

The La Jolla, Calif., company would gross about $16.6 million if the shares (NASDAQ:ATIS) sold at Tuesday's closing price of $3.312, which was down 15.63 cents on the day. The company did not specify whether an underwriter was involved in the offering, nor how the proceeds would be used.

"We cannot discuss the offering because we are in a quiet period," said Cheryl Monblatt, the company's director of corporate communications and investor relations.

Advanced Tissue ended the first quarter with $28 million in cash and had revenues of $10.9 million for the first three months of the year, while posting a net loss of $5.6 million. About $5 million of that revenue came from payments related to expansion of the Dermagraft joint venture with partner Smith & Nephew plc, of London.

Sales of the company's TransCyte and Dermagraft products to related parties were $3.1 million and $2.4 million, respectively, for the quarter.

As of March 31, 1999, the company had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of about $28 million. Advanced Tissue also has a $50 million equity line available through February 2000 and the ability to borrow $4.3 million under the joint venture.

Advanced Tissue reported about 41 million shares outstanding as of March 31. Two weeks ago Smith & Nephew doubled its equity position, to 8 percent, through a $10 million loan that was converted into about 2.8 million shares.

TransCyte (formerly Dermagraft-TC), a temporary skin substitute, was approved in 1997 for treating burns. In May Advanced Tissue signed a deal with Inamed Corp., of Santa Barbara, Calif., that gave Inamed rights to the product as a healing agent following laser and chemical facial-peeling procedures. (See BioWorld Today, May 13, 1999, p. 1.)

Advanced Tissue also is developing the skin implant product Dermagraft, which is in a pivotal trial for diabetic foot ulcers. That trial followed the issuance of a non-approvable letter by the FDA in that indication a year ago.