Matrix Pharmaceutical Inc., in its third financing in nine months, isseeking more than $50 million through a public offering of 2.5million shares.

The Fremont, Calif., company, developing sustained releasechemotherapy packages, said Friday afternoon it registered to sell theshares. The offering is being underwritten by New York-based firmsCowen & Co.; Dillon, Read & Co. Inc.; and UBS Securities LLC.Those three underwrote a Matrix offering of about 4 million shares inOctober 1995 that grossed $54 million.

And Matrix completed an $18 million private placement of 1.48million shares in July 1995.

The company is cashing in while it's hot. Matrix has regulatoryapplications for its lead product on file in Europe and the U.S., morethan $70 million in cash, and stock (NASDAQ:MATX) that's beentrading 70 percent higher than it was before the October offering. Thecompany, which moved to Fremont in January because it outgrew itsMenlo Park facility, has about 17.8 million shares outstanding.

"We have a lot of opportunities here and we'd like to realize them,"Beverly Holley, Matrix's director of investor relations and corporatecommunications, told BioWorld Today. "You need to work with themarket when its ready to work with you."

Holley said proceeds from the offering will go toward developingproducts in the pipeline, accelerating preclinical research programsand preparing for the launch of AccuSite, which is being reviewed asa treatment for genital warts.

Matrix received notice that its European marketing authorizationapplication for AccuSite is approvable subject to resolution of certainquestions. In September 1995 a new drug application for the productwas filed in the U.S. Holley said Matrix hopes to launch the productin Europe late this year and in the U.S. in 1997.

AccuSite consists of a biodegradable protein matrix, 5-fluorouraciland the vasoconstrictor epinephrine. The product is in two Phase IIIstudies in basal cell carcinoma and has completed Phase II studies inpsoriasis. Positive interim Phase II data of AccuSite for squamouscell carcinoma recently were released. (See BioWorld Today, Feb.13, 1996, p.1.)

A similar product, IntraDose (using cisplatin instead of 5-fluorouracil), is in Phase III studies in head and neck cancers and isexpected to go into pivotal studies this year in liver tumors. Phase IIIntraDose studies are ongoing in prostate cancer.

Technologies in the areas of tubulin binding, topoisomeraseinhibitors and radiation are expected to be advanced with proceedsfrom the offering. n

-- Jim Shrine

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