Igen stock sale raises $9.5 million

Investment fund buys 789,075 shares as part of $60 million deal

March 17, 2001|By Julie Bell | Julie Bell,SUN STAFF

Igen International Inc. of Gaithersburg said it raised $9.5 million yesterday by selling 789,075 shares of common stock to an investment fund that focuses on investments in life sciences companies.

The stock purchased by Acqua Wellington North American Equities Fund Ltd. was part of the 3 million shares Igen registered in January to set aside and sell from time to time.

Acqua Wellington has an agreement with Igen to buy up to $60 million of the company's shares at a discount.

Yesterday's sale was made at about $12.04 a share, a discount of about 10 percent to Igen's closing price. Igen shares closed at $13.31, up 13 cents.

Igen, a maker and developer of diagnostic tests, has said it plans to use the proceeds for a research and development, manufacturing and general corporate uses.

The company recently announced it is developing, along with D-Gen Ltd., a test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known as mad cow disease.

It also is developing a smaller, cheaper version of one of its biological detection systems, as well as a blood test to identify cancer in patients earlier than standard tests.

As a result of research and development and other costs, Igen has been spending money fast. The company had cash and cash equivalents of $6.2 million as of Dec. 31. But it spent nearly $7.7 million for research and development alone in the quarter that ended Dec. 31.

The company also spent $3.3 million in the quarter on litigation, largely due to the company's breach-of-contract lawsuit against Roche Diagnostics GmbH.

Igen announced in February that Acqua Wellington would buy up to $60 million worth of the company's shares over the next 28 months, beginning with a $3 million purchase of 211,900 shares.

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