Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc. and senior company executives bought 150,000 shares of company stock yesterday in a move to shore up confidence in the biotechnology firm and its languishing stock price.
"This investment by Guilford and members of our senior management team signifies our strong confidence in Guilford's future prospects," said Dr. Craig R. Smith, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Guilford.
Guilford said the stock it purchased yesterday was bought at $10.13 per share.
The move didn't do much to stir up the issue yesterday. Guilford shares closed at $10.875, down 12.50 cents.
The company's share price has been on a general decline since March 20, when it closed at $23.75.
The company's stock has been hurt, in part, by a general market downturn for small and midsize biotechnology issues, and a dearth of nationally significant company developments.
News about one of its most promising experimental products, a treatment for neuro-degenerative disorders, is controlled by Amgen Inc., which licensed rights to it in 1997. Amgen has disclosed very little about development of the drug, based on molecules known as neuroimmunophilin ligands. Analysts expect the drug to enter U.S. human clinical trials this year.
Guilford has one product on the market, a chemotherapy-loaded wafer for post-operative treatment of brain cancer.
Guilford said the shares it purchased yesterday were bought from Scios Inc. of Mountain View, Calif.
Scios, a biotechnology company originally based in Baltimore, is one of Guilford's founding investors. Historically, it has been one of Guilford's top shareholders with more than 7 percent of the stock.
The shares Guilford purchased were part of a block sold by Scios.
The California biotechnology company plans to divest itself of about 1.3 million shares of Guilford's common stock, or almost all of its holdings, as part of an earlier disclosed restructuring plan which involves 80 layoffs and a site closing.
Scios also wants to raise money for marketing its recently approved drug for congestive heart failure.
Guilford spokeswoman Stacey Jurchison said six of the company's seven senior executives, including CEO Smith, and all seven members of the board participated in purchasing 50,000 shares. The company purchased the other 100,000 shares.
Jurchison said the company declined to identify individuals who participated in yesterday's purchase.
Pub Date: 3/11/99