BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. rode out what appears to have beenbiotech's low point in the summer and completed an offering of 2million shares on Thursday, three months after registering for thesecondary offering.
The Birmingham, Ala., company sold the shares at $10 each to raisegross proceeds of $20 million. Smith Barney Inc. and Needham &Co. Inc., both of New York, underwrote the offering and have anoption to purchase an additional 300,000 shares.
BioCryst is developing inhibitors of purine nucleoside phosphorylase(PNP), an enzyme linked to T-cell proliferation. A topicalformulation of the lead drug candidate from the class, BCX-34, is ina Phase III trial for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Thecompany is getting ready to begin a Phase III trial for psoriasis.
Ronald Gray, chief financial officer at BioCryst, said the financingshould take the company through 1998. It had nearly $18 million incash on June 30, and now has about 13.2 million shares outstanding.
The $10 price per share was a discount to the current price, andsignificantly less than the June 25 price of $17, which was listed onthe offering's prospectus. BioCryst stock (NASDAQ:BCRX) gained$1.25 Thursday to close at $12.88.
Gray said company officials decided in August to try to get the dealdone after Labor Day. He said they noticed recently an improvementin conditions for the sector and, while not as good as early in theyear, decided to complete the deal.
Before registering for the stock sale BioCryst signed its first majorcorporate collaboration, a potential $22 million deal with ToriiPharmaceutical Co., of Tokyo, for Japanese rights to the PNPinhibitors.
BioCryst has an oral form of BCX-34 in a Phase I/II trial for CTCL,a cancer that spreads from skin to internal organs, and is planning aPhase I/II trial of the oral drug in psoriasis. Enrollment in the leadPhase III CTCL trial is expected to be completed by the end of theyear, Gray said, with results coming six months after that. n
-- Jim Shrine
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