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Puzzling Stock Frenzy Hits Techniclone

August 22, 2000|From Dow Jones Newswires

Shares of Techniclone Corp. rose sharply Monday in heavy trading that has befuddled executives of the Tustin biopharmaceutical company.

The volatile stock gained 69 cents, or 33%, to close at $2.78 a share in trading that was more than double the average daily number of shares changing hands over the past three months.

John Bonfiglio, the company's president, said he knew of no reason for the unusual activity, which the company's stock has drawn at times over the summer.

Bonfiglio, who took over the reins officially in May, said the company filed its proxy statement Monday, in which it revealed plans to change its name to Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc.

"But I can't believe that explains it," Bonfiglio said of the trading activity.

Bonfiglio said plans for a name change are an effort to "get away from the stigma" of the Techniclone name.

The company was a financial basket case trading at 25 cents a share in December after disclosing that it had only a two-month supply of cash on hand. But it revived as technology stocks started to shoot up, attracting financing. The stock hit a high of $16.63 a share in March before falling again.

Techniclone, a research and development company at work on drug delivery systems and cancer therapies, has restructured its business this year. Its improved financial outlook has led auditors to drop certain cautionary language from regulatory reports as of July 31.

The company now has $12 million in cash on hand--enough for the next 12 months--and has paid off all past due balances.

Its shareholder base has risen to 66,000 holders from 28,000 a year ago.

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