By Randall Osborne

West Coast Editor

Four months after hauling down $19 million in a private placement, NeoRx Corp. added almost twice as much to its coffers, raising $37 million through the sale of 2.45 million shares to institutional investors.

"We're in a real nice position," said Stacie Byars, spokeswoman for Seattle-based NeoRx, which will have about 26 million shares outstanding after the sale, and $65 million in cash.

"We have a solid two-plus years," she said, given the company's $22 million annual burn rate, which already has risen from about $16 million per year in preparation for clinical trials.

NeoRx said in April it would use the $19 million to finance a Phase III trial of Skeletal Targeted Radiotherapy (STR) in multiple myeloma. (See BioWorld Today, April 24, 2000, p. 1.)

"We're still not into Phase III, but we plan to initiate our trial in the next few weeks," Byars said. "That's our primary strategic focus." The study will enroll between 250 and 300 patients.

Positive interim data from the Phase II trial has been reported, and more results are coming in December.

"We're hoping to report a near-complete data set at the American Society of Hematology meeting," Byars said.

NeoRx also plans a Phase I trial with the STR platform in breast and prostate metastases, and aims to have a total of four clinical trials under way by year's end.

Pretarget Slated For Lymphoma Trial

The fourth, a Phase I trial, will test the company's Pretarget technology in lymphoma.

"It's a radiopharmaceutical," Byars said of the Pretarget method, which uses an injected antibody that attaches to the tumor site and circulates in the blood.

"We add a patented clearing agent, which clears the antibody out of the blood but leaves it on the tumor site," she explained. "Then, we inject the radiation combination drug, which is drawn to the tumor site."

The latest placement was led by Lone Pine Capital LLC; Capital Research and Management Co.; and Deerfield Management. Adams, Harkness & Hill Inc. acted as agent.

NeoRx's stock (NASDAQ:NERX) closed Tuesday at $17.50, up 75 cents.