CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- ImmunoGen Inc. on Wednesday filed fora public offering of 2 million shares of common stock.

Based on ImmunoGen stock's (NASDAQ:IMGN) closing priceWednesday of $13.50 a share, the offering could raise about$27 million. The company raised about $14 million in an initialpublic offering (IPO) of 1.5 million shares at $10 each inNovember 1989. The new offering would bring ImmunoGen to8.1 million shares outstanding.

ImmunoGen's offering follows an announcement on Tuesday ofa 2 million-share secondary offering by Gensia PharmaceuticalsInc. (NASDAQ:GNSA) of San Diego.

"ImmunoGen sees the window opening for public financing,"said Mitchel Sayare, ImmunoGen's president and chiefexecutive officer. He had no ready explanation for hisperception of an improved offering market. "In the finalanalysis, no one knows why the market is the way it is."

Sayare speculated that investors may be concluding thatneither the Middle East war nor the U.S. recession was havingas much effect on the stock market as they previously feared.Low interest rates are also encouraging a shift into stocks. Thehealth care and biotechnology sectors also appear to be moreresistant to recession than other sectors, he said.

Jim McCamant of the Medical Technology Stock Letter inBerkeley, Calif., said that with the rising stock market andfalling interest rates, people who have been hoarding cash arebeginning to panic because they're not fully invested. Biotechcompanies attract attention because they've been among themarket's strongest performers in the past year.

In the most recent IPO among biotechnology companies, CygnusTherapeutic Systems of Redwood City, Calif., last month raised$25.1 million. Of the 1990 crop of 10 IPOs in biotechnology,only Neozyme Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., was successfullylaunched in the latter half of last year.

Proceeds from ImmunoGen's offering are to be used primarilyto fund clinical trials and for product development, workingcapital and general corporate purposes, Sayare said.

ImmunoGen is developing pharmaceuticals for treating cancer.Its products are immunoconjugates composed of a monoclonalantibody specific to a particular type of cancer cell and blockedricin, a bacterial toxin.

Three products are in clinical trials. Oncolysin B to treat B-celllymphoma and lymphocytic leukemias is in Phase I/II clinicals,with Phase II efficacy trials possible this spring; Oncolysin M totreat myelogenous leukemias and Oncolysin S for small-celllung cancer are in Phase I/II clinicals.

For the six months ended Dec. 31, 1990, ImmunoGen reported a$3 million loss on revenues of $2.5 million.

Underwriters for the offering, PaineWebber Inc. of New York,and Hambrecht & Quist Inc. and Montgomery Securities of SanFrancisco, have options to purchase 300,000 additional sharesthrough an overallotment.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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