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Money & Finances: Jul 14, 2000

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• Biotechnology companies raised $5.5 billion in the second quarter, less than half of the $12 billion raised in the first quarter, said merchant bank Burrill & Co.

Burrill attributed the drop to the sell-off caused by the Clinton-Blair comments in March and the crash of technology stocks in general, which occurred during the quarter.

Genaissance Pharmaceuticals will issue six million shares in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq aimed at raising as much as $78 million.

The company said in its prospectus filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it expected to sell the shares for between $11 and $13 a share.

Genaissaince of New Haven, Conn., said it would use the net proceeds to purchase consumables and equipment to discover gene markers, hire more people, fund internal programs, and file additional patent applications. Some of the money will also be earmarked for general corporate purposes.

Geron Corporation of Menlo Park, Calif., said it had agreed to sell $25 million worth of zero coupon convertible debentures to an existing institutional investor.

This financing, together with cash on the balance sheet and committed funding from partners, brings the company’s total available cash to approximately $98 million.

Geron said it would use this money to continue investing in telomerase drug discovery, and stem cell and nuclear transfer development programs.

The debentures are convertible by the investor into Geron common stock at a fixed conversion price of $29.95 per share.

Myriad Genetics said it received a $24 million equity investment from an undisclosed European pharmaceutical company, which it will use to accelerate the development of colon cancer therapeutic compounds and to further develop its proteomics technologies.

In exchange, the European company received 300,000 shares of newly issued common stock, representing a 7.5 percent discount to the 15-day trailing average stock price.

Based in Salt Lake City, Myriad said it intends to move aggressively forward with drug candidate MPI-42511. Myriad plans to begin in vivo testing of the colon cancer drug candidate over the summer.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded a total of $50.3 million to 53 universities in 22 states and Puerto Rico that will go toward undergraduate biological sciences education.

In some cases, the universities will use the awards, which range from $700,000 to $1.7 million, to develop new courses and hire new faculty to add bioinformatics, bioengineering, and computational biology to their undergraduate life sciences programs.

Other universities will use the new funds to attract biology majors to science teaching or to provide new research opportunities in the life sciences.

HHMI is a nonprofit medical research organization headquartered in Chevy Chase, Md. HHMI has an endowment of about $13 billion.

LeadScope, a maker of support tools used in drug discovery, said it has received $7 million in financing.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, the company said it would use the money to boost its operations, boost its product offerings, expand its global sales and marketing strategy, and make any potential acquisitions.

MedEquity Investors and Chase Capital Partners led the fundraising.

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