Human Genome makes share offering 2.75 million shares yield nearly $60 million


Human Genome Sciences Inc. of Rockville yesterday completed an offering of 2.75 million shares, which boosted the number of the company's shares by almost 19 percent and raised almost $60 million before expenses for the company's research and development.

The offering drove the price of the company's 14.9 million previously existing shares down $2.25 to close at $21.75. The lower price reflects the fact that the 3-year-old company's future profit stream will have to be divided among more shares.

Human Genome Sciences made its initial offering of 2.25 million common shares in 1993, with each share priced at $12 by underwriters led by Lehman Bros. Lehman Bros., Bear Stearns & Co. Inc. and Smith Barney Inc. managed yesterday's offering.

Company officials did not return calls seeking comment yesterday. Federal securities regulations bar them from making most public statements about the offering immediately before and after the sale.

Human Genome Sciences specializes in sequencing genes in a bid to use newly discovered information about the human genome to produce commercial health care products.

The company is associated with the Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), a not-for-profit company in Montgomery County formed by Dr. J. Craig Venter, a scientist formerly at the National Institutes of Health.

TIGR caused a sensation in scientific circles earlier this year when it announced it had completed the first complete genetic sequencing of a living organism. It followed up when Dr. Venter announced earlier this week that the institute had completed its mapping of three-fourths of the estimated 100,000 human genes, a step that sets the stage for Human Genome and other companies to develop a wide range of therapies to fight genetically caused disease.

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