Phytera Inc., whose drug discovery programs focus on compoundsderived from plants and marine microbes, raised more than $12million in the company's first major equity financing amongEuropean investors.

Malcolm Morville, president and CEO of the Worcester, Mass.-basedcompany, said half of Phytera's work is conducted in two subsidiariesin Sheffield, U.K., and Copenhagen, Denmark.

"The Europeans are more excited about biotechnology these days,"he noted, particularly when the company has operations in the region.

The $12.35 million raised by Phytera boosts its equity financing for1996 to $19 million. Since its founding in 1992, the privately heldcompany has attracted investments totaling $31 million.

The European private placement among Danish, Swedish andNorwegian investors was managed by Carnegie Bank A/S, ofCopenhagen.

Morville said Phytera expects to begin clinical studies of its firstproduct, a plant-derived antifungal agent, in 1997. Another drugcandidate, found in marine microbes, is targeted as a herpes treatmentand is expected to enter clinical trials in early 1998.

In April 1996 Phytera expanded its drug discovery capabilitiesthrough the acquisition of Neptune Pharmaceuticals Inc., also ofWorcester, and its technology for finding therapeutic biochemicals inhard-to-culture marine microbes.

Phytera was founded in 1992 with technology for geneticmanipulation of plant cells to produce new chemical compounds. _Charles Craig

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.