Aphton Corp. announced Tuesday that it has raised approximately$10.4 million through a private placement its common stock withinstitutional investors. Montgomery Securities acted as agent for theplacement.Before this placement, Aphton of Woodland, Calif., had 10.9 millionshares outstanding. The company has financed its operations throughthe sale of its equity securities, operating revenues from research anddevelopment limited partnerships.Philip Gevas, Aphton's chairman and chief executive officer, said theproceeds from the placement would be used to fund operations andconduct clinical trials in the United Kingdom and the U.S.Founded in 1981, Aphton is a biopharmaceutical company thatdevelops products for neutralizing hormones that stimulate malignantand non-malignant diseases of the gastrointestinal and reproductivesystem. Its technology involves injecting a patient with an immunogenproduct that induces the patient's own immune system to produceantibodies against both the immunogen itself and a specific hormone orother problem molecule.Two of Aphton's products are entering clinical trials in the U.S. thisyear, including Gastrin Immunogen CGC, which last year became thefirst Aphton product to enter clinical trials; the trials were done in theUnited Kingdom for both colorectal and gastric cancer. In July 1993,the company reported that this therapy produced high levels ofantibodies to the hormone gastrin 17 (G17), ensuring the completeneutralization of G17 in a Phase I/II trial of colon cancer patients.The other Aphton therapy slated for trials in both the U.S. and the U.K.this year is Immunogen CPU, a treatment for chronic peptic ulcer andfor esophageal reflux.Aphton also has products in preclinical testing. One is ImmunogenHRM, which is being tested as a treatment for reproductive cancers(including breast and prostate cancer) and endometriosis. In addition,animal and human contraceptive immunogens are in preclinical stages.Apton's stock (NASDAQ:APHT) was down $1.50 a share on Tuesday,closing at $22.

-- Philippa Maister

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