With one drug in Phase III trials and two others in PhaseII studies, Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. is venturing into afollow-on public offering expecting to raise about $40million.Isis, of Carlsbad, Calif., registered with the Securities andExchange Commission to sell 3 million shares. Based onthe $13 closing price Thursday of the stock(NASDAQ:ISIP), the company would raise $39 million.Isis currently has about 22 million shares outstanding.The offering includes another 450,000 shares, which theunderwriters have the option to purchase. VectorSecurities International Inc., of Deerfield, Ill., andLehman Brothers and Cowen & Co., both of New York,are managing the stock sale.At the close of the second quarter, June 30, Isis had morethan $36 million in cash and received another $28.5million from an equity investment by its corporatepartner, Germany-based Boehringer IngleheimInternational GmbH. Isis reported a net loss for the firstsix months of this year of $11.8 million.In addition to Boehringer Ingleheim, Isis hascollaborations with Switzerland-based Ciba-Geigy Ltd.and two Japanese companies, Eisai Co. Ltd. and ChemoSero Therapeutic Research Institute.Isis' lead drugs are based on antisense technology, whichis designed to inhibit the function of messenger RNA andto prevent production of disease-causing proteins.The company's lead product, ISIS 2922, is in Phase IIIstudies for cytomegalovirus retinitis in AIDS patients.ISIS 2105, in Phase II trials for genital warts caused byhuman papillomavirus, is another antisense drug targetedas an antiviral agent.The third antisense drug, ISIS 2302, is aimed at inhibitingproduction of intercellular adhesion molecule-1, which isa protein involved in inflammatory disorders. ISIS 2302is in Phase II studies to prevent kidney transplantrejection and trials are planned for other indications, suchas rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. n

-- Charles Craig

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