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TheStreet Open House

GenVec Financing Sinks Shares: BioBuzz

GAITHERSBURG, Md. ( TheStreet) -- Shares of GenVec (GNVC) are down 23% Wednesday after the tiny drug maker said it had sold 14 million shares of stock and another 4.2 million warrants, raising net proceeds of $26.2 million.

The GenVec offering of units consisting of stock and warrants, priced at $2 per unit, comes predictably after a run in GenVec's stock price, which has essentially doubled since December. The stock closed Tuesday at $2.47. In recent trading, shares were down to $1.88.

Biotech, especially small-cap biotechs, do one thing exceptionally well -- raise money. Investors take note.

"Dilution is the name of the game after big runs in the market, especially in a market place where all small bios are raising cash as a group," says JohnWelshPhd, a savvy trader, including of small-cap biotech stocks, who I follow on Twitter.

When news of the GenVec offering broke, JohnWelshPhd tweeted, "Surprise factor zero."

So true.

Now, the $26 million dollar question is whether Wednesday's financing implies anything about the upcoming interim analysis of the phase III study of TNFerade in pancreatic cancer.

Is GenVec simply being opportunistic about raising money ahead of this important, potentially stock-moving event? Or, is the company fearful that the TNFerade results will be negative, so it's getting the money now while it can?

No one but GenVec knows the answer, of course, and executives aren't about to tell us. When Cell Therapeutics (CTIC) raised money a couple of weeks ago, just before the FDA advisory panel for its lymphoma drug pixantrone, I wrote that that it presaged bad things for the drug.

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