With the ink still wet on its $42 million R&D pact withWellcome plc (see BioWorld, Dec. 16), Vertex PharmaceuticalsInc. announced Friday that it has filed for a public stockoffering.

If Vertex sells all 2.5 million shares of common stock beingoffered in this transaction, it could raise another $42 million.The stock (NASDAQ:VRTX) closed Friday at $16.75 a share,down 75 cents.

The offering will be managed by Cowen & Co., Robertson,Stephens & Co. and Vector Securities International Inc. Theunderwriters have an option to purchase up to 375,000 sharesto cover any overallotments.

Vertex, a rational drug design company based in Cambridge,Mass., went public in July 1991, raising $27 million on the saleof 3 million shares of common stock at $9 per share -- short ofits target price range of $13-15 per share. Four months later, inmid-November, the company filed for a 2 million-share follow-on offering that closed a month later, raising $27.5 million at$13.75 a share.

As of Sept. 30, Vertex had 12.45 million shares outstanding.The company also reported $42.6 million in cash and short-term investments for the third quarter, with net losses of $2.7million.

-- By Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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