Ribi ImmunoChem Research Inc. has again decided to test thepublic market's appetite for its stock. The company announcedWednesday that it has filed an S-3 registration statement withthe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for 2 millionshares of common stock (NASDAQ:RIBI) plus an additional300,000 shares to cover any overallotments.

The follow-on offering, which could gross about $12 million, isbeing underwritten by Hambrecht & Quist Inc.

Ribi had filed for a follow-on offering of 3 million shares (alsounderwritten by H&Q) in late January, but then formallywithdrew that registration statement on April 2, citing agenerally weak market for biotechnology issues.

The Hamilton, Mont., company, which is developingimmunostimulants designed to be incorporated into vaccinesfor treating and preventing human disease, has been publicsince 1981; it has completed two follow-on offerings since then,in November 1982 and August 1985.

It's also had substantial backing over the years from DavidBlech of D. Blech & Co. Inc. In fact, as of March 1, Blech ownedfully 20 percent of Ribi, or 3.2 million shares (including optionsand warrants on 1.9 million shares), according to JeffreyMcDowell, Ribi's corporate information manager.

As of June 30, Ribi had close to $7.5 million in assets,principally cash and short-term investments.

The stock closed Wednesday at $5.63 a share, down 50 cents.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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