Sheffield Medical Technologies has signed a letter of intent with anunderwriter to raise $15 million in its first sale of stock in Europe.The Houston-based company said "a substantial number of the shares"will be sold to investors in France, where Sheffield recently announcedit formed a joint venture with the French National Institute of Healthand Medical Research (INSERM) for development of an HIV/AIDSvaccine.The vaccine is being developed by the French scientist, Jean-ClaudeChermann, who was one of the first researchers to isolate the disease in1983.Part of the $15 million is earmarked for development of the vaccine,which will include construction of a laboratory in Marseille.Other shares in the European offering are expected to be sold toinvestors in the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland.Sheffield spokeswoman Gloria Mechaley said the decision on when toissue the shares has not been made, nor has it been determined howmany shares will be sold. She also said she could not indentify theunderwriter.Sheffield, which began trading publicly in the U.S in 1993, has 6.3million shares outstanding. Its stock (AMEX:SHM) closed Tuesday at$4.69 cents, up 6 cents.In addition to supporting development of the AIDS vaccine, Sheffieldsaid proceeds from the $15 million stock sale will be used to fundresearch involving the company's other products, which includedevelopment of two HIV/AIDS-related therapies, prostate cancer drugsand a broad range of anti-proliferative compounds.In June, Sheffield announced its agreement with INSERM to developand market Chermann's HIV/AIDS vaccine. The deal gave Sheffieldan option to obtain exclusive licensing rights to the vaccine. In returnthe company agreed to pay up to $600,000 over the next year tosupport preclinical research and help fund the Marseille laboratory. _Charles Craig

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