Escagenetics Corp. said Wednesday that it has raised $6.75million in a private placement of 900,000 shares ofunregistered common stock at $7.50 per share (AMEX:ESN). Theplacement, primarily to institutional investors, was managedby Vantage Securities Inc.

The proceeds will be used to expand Escagenetics'phytopharmaceutical division, which the company is in theprocess of staffing. Escagenetics set up the division last year todevelop drugs using its cell culture technology.

Escagenetics' first phytopharmaceutical, taxol, is beingdeveloped to treat ovarian cancer. The company has spentabout $1.2 million on taxol in the past 12 months and plans tostep that up somewhat this year, said Raymond Moshy,president and chief executive.

The company plans to start developing other, undisclosedphytopharmaceuticals this year, said Moshy, but it will be atleast a year before expenditures on those compounds reachesthe level of taxol.

Shares of the San Carlos, Calif., company closed down 13 centsat $13 on Wednesday. After the placement, Escagenetics has4.8 million shares outstanding. -- Karen Bernstein

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