Stolen computer information worth an estimated $60 million could sink Hauser Chemical Research Inc., officials said.

One of the company's former technical writers has been arrested on suspicion of stealing the information by copying it from Hauser's computer onto floppy disks.Boulder police have arrested Andrew Brian Schrader, 31, on suspicion of theft of more than $15,000, a Class 3 felony. Investigators also have searched Mr. Schrader's home and confiscated computer equipment and a computer disk.

He has been released from the Boulder County Jail on a $5,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.

Thomas Scales, Hauser president and chief operating officer, told police another company could copy Hauser's "recipes" or manufacturing processes

from the disks.

Mr. Scales said the information could be sold to another company for $8 million to $10 million. Officials aren't sure yet if the suspect has sold or shown the information to anyone.

Hauser Chemical Research, which had $59 million in revenues in 1993, is best known for extracting the cancer-fighting compound "taxol" from the bark of the Pacific yew tree.

According to the arrest affidavit, the company's director of human resources, Susan Maynard, called the suspect shortly after he resigned on Nov. 9.

Ms. Maynard apparently warned the suspect that the disks were worth $60 million and that the company could fold if the information got into the wrong hands.

When confronted by company officials, the man claimed it was a mistake and on Nov. 16 returned six disks containing most of the information. But company officials said they had no way of knowing if the disks had been copied.

Police said the man has admitted that he copied certain information from Hauser's computer system, according to the arrest affidavit. He told police he had taken a new job at a software company and found that he needed some of the information.