Alpha-Beta Technology Inc., with about one year's worth of cash andPhase III trials of its anti-infective Betafectin near completion, sold 1million more shares than expected in a public offering that generatedgross proceeds of more than $40 million.

Betafectin, a non-antibiotic infection-fighting glucose polymer, is theWorcester, Mass.-based company's lead product under evaluation inPhase III studies for prevention of post-operative infections ingastrointestinal surgery patients at high risk of developingcomplications. Alpha-Beta officials estimated as many as 800,000patients each year would be candidates for the drug.

The Phase III placebo-controlled trials, which will involve 1,236patients at up to 40 U.S. medical centers, began in February 1995.Results are expected by the end of 1996.

Alpha-Beta registered in late January 1996 to sell 2 million sharesand based on a trading price of $14.75 expected to raise about $30million. Demand pushed the offering to 3 million shares, but the priceslipped to $14, generating gross proceeds of $42 million.

The company's stock (NASDAQ:ABTI) closed Friday at $13.50,down $1.

Alpha-Beta, prior to the offering, had about one year's worth of cash.In its 1995 year-end fiscal report, the company had $28.5 million incash and a net loss of $26 million.

Augustine Lawlor, vice president of finance, said Alpha-Beta nowhas enough money to finance operations into 1998. The company hasabout 16.7 million shares outstanding.

Hambrecht & Quist LLC, of New York, and Vector SecuritiesInternational Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., managed the offering.

Betafectin, a PGG-glucan that has been described as a complexconfiguration of a simple sugar molecule, is designed to bind to beta-glucan receptors on the surface of white blood cells to boost theirproduction and infection-fighting capabilities.

Clinical studies are planned to expand the drug's use in fightinginfections following other surgeries such as those for trauma,coronary artery by-pass grafts, vascular and joint replacements andCaesarean section.

Another clinical trial is under way to evaluate the drug forreconstituting bone marrow through mobilization of peripheral stemcells.

Alpha-Beta also is developing a T cell specific carbohydrateimmunomodulator in collaboration with researchers at Brigham andWomen's Hospital in Boston.

Lawlor said demand for the public offering was based on near-terminterest in Betafectin as an anti-infective and on the drug's potentialhematopoiesis applications.

Alpha-Beta owns all rights to Betafectin. The company is indiscussions with potential marketing partners, but could decide to sellthe drug itself. n

-- Charles Craig

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