Tuesday, June 1, 1999
By Eric Pierce
& Shaun Brown
Investors added nearly half a billion ($495 million) to Biogen's market cap after BGEN announced that its Amevive LFA-3/IgG human fusion protein had an excellent dose response and side effect profile in a Phase II trial in moderate-to-severe psoriasis (see B9). However, the encouraging data didn't prompt investors to throw money at other publicly held biotech companies that are attempting to treat the tricky indication. Of the 19 companies identified by BioCentury that are currently developing psoriasis compounds, eight traded up on the week (including BGEN) while 11 lost value (see adjoining chart & Cover Story). BGEN added $6.625 on the week to close Friday at $109.125, which values the company at $8.15 billion.
Speaking of private dollars
Pharma Mar, the cancer company in Madrid, raised $31.4 million in the second largest private round in 1999, behind only Sequenom, the U.S.-German play which raised $37 million in an April financing. Sequenom is developing DNA analysis products for use in large-scale pharmacogenomics and life sciences research. Pharma Mar will use the funds to continue development of ET-743, which is in Phase II trials, and Aplidine, which is in Phase I.