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Nova holds stock sale


Nova Pharmaceutical Corp. said yesterday that it sold 3.6 million shares of stock to the public for $8.50 apiece, raising more than $28 million to support the company's drive to develop new drugs for inflammation and central nervous system disorders.

The company could gain an additional $5.1 million, minus underwriting commissions, if underwriters led by Tucker Anthony Inc. sell an additional 600,000 shares.

Nova said it authorized the additional sale if demand for its shares was unexpectedly high.

Baltimore-based Nova has worked to commercialize scientific advancesunder the glare of watchful investors.

Nova, like many other biotechnology and drug-development companies, has not turned a profit in its early years and uses money from the sale of stock to develop its products.

Two of the company's biggest shareholders -- drug giants SmithKline Beecham PLC and Marion Merrell Dow -- also sold small pieces of their Nova holdings in the offerings. Both stockholders have said their decision to sell Nova stock was not a sign of dissatisfaction with the company's management.

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