Myriad Genetics Inc., which sells a genetic test for determiningpredisposition to breast cancer, is returning to the equity markets ayear after going public to raise an anticipated $43 million to supportits disease gene discovery programs.

The Salt Lake City company registered to sell 1.5 million shares at aprojected price of $28.50 per share for $42.75 million in grossproceeds. Underwriters Cowen & Co. and UBS Securities LLC, bothof New York, have options to purchase another 255,000 shares tocover overallotments. Myriad also registered another 200,000 sharesto be sold by stockholders in the company.

Following the offering, Myriad will have 10.2 million sharesoutstanding.

Myriad researchers and their academic collaborators isolated andsequenced BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. When mutated those genesare responsible for a majority of early onset breast and ovariancancers.

In late October, the company introduced to the market its first genetictest, called BRCAnalysis, based on the breast cancer genediscoveries. The test, which takes 10 days to complete, costs $2,400plus an additional $395 for detailed analysis of specific mutations.

In the prospectus for the follow-on offering, Myriad said itsresearchers have discovered numerous additional genetic links tobreast cancer and other diseases.

For example, nine new genes that interact with BRCA1 and two thatinteract with BRCA2 have been identified. And chromosomallocations have been targeted for nine other major genes involved indisorders such as heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and obesity.

In addition to marketing genetic tests, Myriad is using its DNAdiscoveries to develop drugs.

A potential $71 million deal with Bayer AG, of Leverkusen,Germany, is aimed at finding therapeutics based on genes involved inobesity, osteoporosis and asthma. The Bayer agreement wasnegotiated in September 1995, five months after Myriad entered adrug discovery collaboration worth up to $60 million with Ciba-Geigy Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland, for cardiovascular diseases.

Myriad's other major partner is Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis,which in 1992 licensed rights to the BRCA1 gene for drugdevelopment.

Myriad said the three alliances are worth a potential $135 million inequity investments, research funding and milestone payments. So farthe company has received $32 million.

As of Sept. 30, 1996, Myriad had $67 million in cash and a net lossof $1.6 million for the previous three months. For the fiscal yearending June 30, 1996, the company reported a net loss of $8.89million.

Myriad went public in October 1995, raising $46.8 million throughthe sale of 2.6 million shares at $18 per share. The company's stock(NASDAQ:MYGN) closed Friday down $2.25 to $26.00. n

-- Charles Craig

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

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