Bio-Technology General Corp., a company whose name used tobe virtually synonymous with debt, is about to wipe the slateclean.

Only two years ago, BTGC had $30 million in debt, which itreduced to $8 million by swapping its subordinated notes for acombination of convertible notes and common stock inNovember 1989.

Some $2 million in debt remains, which BTGC anticipates willbe virtually gone by the end of September as debt holdersconvert to stock. The conversion price is $1.75 per share; thestock (NASDAQ:BTGC) has been trading above $5 recently.

Once the price rises to about $7 or $8 a share, BTGC hopes toraise $15 million to $25 million in a secondary offering thatwould enable the New York-based company to fund its ownclinical trials. "I want to be able to start multicenter trialswithout having to run to large corporations and license thoseresources away," Sim Fass, BTGC's president and chiefexecutive officer, told BioWorld.

The company has raised $13.7 million in three privateplacements since February 1990. As of June 30, BTGC had $11million in cash -- enough to see the company through the nexttwo years, Fass said.

Having returned the company to firmer financial ground, Fassis turning his attention to convincing investors that a companywith no blockbuster products is still a solid investment.

"It's important to know that within the pharmaceutical world,there aren't that many $200 million to $500 millionerythropoietin products," Fass said. "If investors expect everyproduct to be that, they'll be disappointed."

BTGC has six lead products, none of which is proprietary. But,said Fass, they will generate combined revenues in the $100million-plus range by 1995-96. The six products, in order ofexpected market entry, are human growth hormone (hGH),bovine growth hormone (BGH), hyaluronic acid (HA), hepatitis Bvaccine, a vitamin D metabolite to treat psoriasis, and porcinegrowth hormone (PGH).

BTGC expects hGH to enter the European market in 1992 and allthe products to be on the market by 1995.

Taking hGH alone, BTGC expects royalties from European salesto put it into the black in 1992. BTGC's licensee, SmithKlineBeecham, is aiming for a 30 percent share of the Europeanmarket, which will total $300 million in 1992. Even if SKBgets a 10 percent share, that would give BTGC royalty revenuesof $9 million. By 1994-95, BTGC expects to earn $70 millionfrom hGH sales in Europe, Japan and the United States.

BTGC's 1991 revenues will be similar to 1990 figures, Fasssaid. BTGC in 1990 lost $6.2 million, or 40 cents a share, onrevenues of $4.3 million.

BTGC has seven other products in its pipeline: superoxidedismutase to treat oxygen toxicity in premature infants;platelet aggregating factor to prevent myocardial reocclusion;radiolabeled fibrin binding domain (from the fibrinectinmolecule) to image pulmonary clots; other pieces of thefibrinectin molecule for wound healing, anti-infectives andanti-metastasis; and a humanized monoclonal antibody to treatcytomegalovirus.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.