LONDON ¿ The gene therapy company Oxford BioMedica plc said it will raise #3.6 million (US$5.8 million) before expenses in a rights issue. It will offer up to 23.7 million shares to qualifying shareholders at 15 pence per share, on a one-for-five basis. The rights issue has been fully underwritten by Beeson Gregory Ltd., of London.

The money will allow Oxford BioMedica to continue its first clinical study of MetXia-P450 in breast cancer, which began in December 1998, and to fund further development of its other programs. The share price of the company, which is listed on London¿s Alternative Investment Market, rose by 0.5 pence on the news, to end last week at 18.5 pence.

The company, based in Oxford, U.K., also announced results for the year ended Dec. 31, 1998, showing a loss of #3.7 million, up from #2.9 million for the 15 months ended Dec. 31, 1997. Expenditures on research and development rose from just under #2 million in 1997, to #3 million in 1998. In April 1998, Oxford BioMedica raised #5.4 million in a rights issue, and ended the year with #3.4 million in cash, up from #1.3 million at the end of 1997. ¿ Nuala Moran