By Randall Osborne
West Coast Editor
Almost exactly four months after filing for an initial public offering with hopes it could raise $48.3 million, Northwest Biotherapeutics Inc. priced 4 million shares at $5 each, giving it well under half the amount.
Bothell, Wash.-based Northwest, with a focus on immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer, granted underwriters an option for 600,000 more shares as overallotments in the $20 million offering, and trades on Nasdaq under the symbol NWBT.
The company, in a quiet period as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission, said through a spokesperson that it was very pleased with investor response to the offering, filed this summer. (See BioWorld Today, August 15, 2001.)
Northwest deploys dendritic cell biology and antigen discovery methods, and boasts two platforms: dendritic cell-based DCVax and the monoclonal antibody-based HuRx. The former has yielded the lead product candidate DCVAX-Prostate, a cancer treatment entering Phase III trials. The latter platform, devised as part of Northwests partnership with Medarex Inc., has resulted in HuRx-Prostate, another cancer treatment, being manufactured in preparation for Phase I trials. (See BioWorld Today, April 26, 2001.)
The firms main immunotherapy is intended to reduce prostate-specific antigen levels and stop cancer from spreading in soft tissue and bones. Another application of the dendritic cell-based therapy applies to renal, brain and lung cancers, and the third uses a polymer-based brachytherapy for outpatient treatment of localized prostate cancer.
The IPO was led by C.E. Unterberg, Towbin, of New York, with Fahnestock & Co. Inc., also of New York, and Roth Capital Partners, LLC, of Los Angeles, as co-managers.
When Northwest filed for the IPO, it said proceeds will pay for research and development and clinical trials, and will help pay fees due partner Northwest Hospital, which supplies tissue samples and which provided $3 million in seed money after deciding to spin out the company, led by the hospitals director of molecular medicine, in 1996. (See BioWorld Today, April 21, 2000).
Northwests stock (NASDAQ:NWBT) closed Monday at $5.005, down 30.5 cents.