About a month after signing its first major corporate alliance,BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. is heading into the equity markets fora follow-on public offering of two million shares to supportdevelopment of its autoimmune disease and T-cell cancer program.

Based on the $16.37 closing price of the Birmingham, Ala.,company's stock (NASDAQ:BCRX) Tuesday, which was four daysfollowing registration for the offering, the equity financing wouldraise more than $32 million.

Underwriters are Smith Barney Inc. and Needham & Co. Inc., both ofNew York. They have options to purchase another 300,000 shares tocover overallotments.

In early June 1996, BioCryst entered a potential $22 millioncollaboration with Torii Pharmaceutical Co., of Tokyo, fordevelopment and marketing in Japan of BioCryst's purine nucleosidephosphorylase (PNP) inhibitors for rheumatoid arthritis, atopicdermatitis and T-cell cancers. BioCryst retained rights to thecompounds elsewhere.

The PNP inhibitors include BCX-34, which is BioCryst's leadcompound. The drug, in a topical formulation, is in a Phase III trial inthe U.S. for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), which is a deadlycancer that spreads from the skin to internal organs. Another PhaseIII study in the U.S. is expected to begin in the fall for psoriasis.

BioCryst has an oral form of BCX-34 in a Phase I/II study for CTCLand other clinical trials are planned for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoidarthritis and psoriasis.

PNP is an enzyme linked to T-cell proliferation, a conditionassociated with a variety of autoimmune diseases.

Results from the 90-patient Phase III CTCL trial are expected inearly 1997. A successful Phase II study in psoriasis was completed inApril 1996 and data from the Phase III trial should be available bythe second quarter of 1997.

BioCryst ended 1995 with $11.4 million in cash and a net loss of$8.6 million for the year. The company has about nine million sharesoutstanding. n

-- Charles Craig

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