By Charles Craig

ImClone Systems Inc., which is developing monoclonal antibodies for treatment of cancer, raised $23.6 million in an offering of 3 million shares to a group of institutional investors.

The New York-based company sold the shares at $7.87 per share, which was a discount to the $8.37 closing price of ImClone's stock (NASDAQ:IMCL) Tuesday. The day before the company registered for the equity financing, Feb. 25, its shares were trading at $8.50.

Investors participating in the offering included Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc., of San Francisco, and Spears, Benzak, Salomon & Farrell Inc., and Weiss, Peck & Greer LLC, both of New York.

ImClone closed Tuesday down $0.25 to $8.125.

The company's lead cancer drug, C225, is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor in an attempt to limit the spread of tumor cells. The EGF receptor is expressed in one-third of cancers.

The C225 antibody, which is in Phase Ib/IIa studies, is used in combination with chemotherapeutic agents, such as doxorubicin, cisplatin and paclitaxel, to enhance their cancer killing effects.

Two other monoclonal antibodies, 105AD7 and BEC-2, are in clinical studies as cancer vaccines. Both antibodies mimic antigens expressed on tumor cells to stimulate an immune system attack on cancers.

BEC-2, an antibody that mimics the ganglioside GD3 antigen, is under development in collaboration with Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany. The vaccine is designed to prevent the return of cancer following chemotherapy or surgery. Data from early clinical trials showed the antibody prolonged survival of patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

The other antibody, 105AD7, is made to mimic glycoprotein 72, which is an antigen expressed on gastrointestinal tract cancer cells. The vaccine is being evaluated in Phase II trials.

ImClone also is developing a molecular variant of interleukin 6, a hematopoietic growth factor, for restoration of platelets destroyed by cancer chemotherapy.

In addition, the company has collaborations with American Home Products Corp., of Madison, N.J., for infectious disease vaccines and with Abbott laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., for diagnostics.

As of Dec. 31, 1996, ImClone had $13.5 million in cash and reported a net loss of $16 million last year. Following the equity financing, the company has 23.4 million shares outstanding.

Hambrecht & Quist LLC, of New York, and Genesis Merchant Group Securities LLC, of San Francisco, managed the offering. *