By Charles Craig
Human Genome Sciences Inc. is seeking to raise about $130 million in a public offering of 3 million shares aimed at supporting its push from genomics research into protein drug development.
The Rockville, Md., company * among the first to cash in on efforts to identify human genes in a $125 million collaboration in 1993 with London-based SmithKline Beecham plc * has six therapeutic proteins in preclinical development and expects to begin evaluating some candidates in human trials later this year. The protein drugs target cancer, hematopoiesis, wound healing, viruses and inflammatory disorders.
In the offering prospectus filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Human Genome Sciences said it has identified 100 potential therapeutic proteins through its human gene sequencing efforts, which, the company added, have yielded more than 1 million partial gene sequences corresponding to nearly all 100,000 human genes.
The human gene sequences, which are raw data, and technology for understanding their biology form the basis of the company's 1993 research partnership with SmithKline, which is using the data to develop small molecule drugs.
Since then Human Genome Sciences has expanded access to its genetic data in drug development agreements, worth a potential $175 million, with other pharmaceutical firms: Takeda Chemical Industries Ltd., of Osaka, Japan; Schering-Plough Corp., of Madison, N.J.; Synthelabo S.A., of Montrouge, France; and Merck KGaA, of Darmstadt, Germany.
Human Genome Sciences said it has filed U.S. patent applications covering 250 full-length genes and their proteins and five patents have issued. In Europe, patents on nearly 100 genes have been published.
In its SEC prospectus, Human Genome Sciences said it has applications for patents on all 1 million partial gene sequences in its data bases.
The company's stock (NASDAQ:HGSI) closed Monday at $42.50 and based on that price the offering of 3 million shares would generate $127.5 million. Human Genome Sciences shares ended Tuesday at $39.875, down $2.625. Following the equity financing, the company will have 21.8 million shares outstanding.
Underwriters Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns and Co. Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., Smith Barney Inc. and UBS Securities, all of New York, have options to purchase another 450,000 shares to cover overallotments.
As of Dec. 31, 1996, Human Genome Sciences said it had $116 million in cash and reported a net loss of $7.8 million for last year.
In addition to human genes, the company is sequencing genes of other organisms in collaborations with partners for antimicrobial and agricultural applications. *