After the termination of several early stage research collaborations and their associated revenue streams, Curis Inc. raised $13 million in a private placement of stock and warrants.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based company agreed to sell certain institutional and accredited investors units comprised of a common share and a warrant to purchase 0.35 additional common shares at a purchase price of $1.06375 per unit. The deal is expected to close by Wednesday.
Shares of Curis (NASDAQ:CRIS) closed at $1.01 on Monday, down 1 cent.
The financing comes just after two of Curis's partners elected to discontinue research collaborations. In early May, Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals terminated a collaboration centered on topically applied Hedgehog agonists for hair growth. A few weeks later, Ortho Biotech Products LP ended its work on Curis's bone morphogenetic protein-7 program for kidney disease. Curis does not expect to continue the hair growth research but will seek a new partner for the BMP-7 program. (See BioWorld Today, May 22, 2007.)
Smaller collaborations also to recently wind down include a BMP small-molecule screening agreement with Centocor Inc. and a deal with the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation.
Meanwhile, collaborations continue with Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco, and Wyeth, of Madison, N.J. Genentech is conducting Phase I trials of Curis's small-molecule Hedgehog antagonist for cancer and preclinical studies with antagonists of the Wnt signaling pathway, also for cancer. Wyeth is working on preclinical Hedgehog agonists for stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Curis also is moving forward with its Targeted Cancer Drug Development Platform. The first development candidate from the program, CUDC-101, was selected in March and is slated for an investigational new drug application filing in the first quarter of 2008. The drug is a small molecule that inhibits EGFR and Her2 kinases as well as an undisclosed non-kinase target known as "Target A."
As CUDC-101 advances, Curis plans to select a second development candidate from the Targeted Cancer Drug Development Platform by the end of 2007 and a third in 2008.
Curis expects to net $12.9 million from its private placement, which will be used for research and development efforts and general corporate purposes. That money will supplement the $30.2 million in cash, equivalents and marketable securities the company had at the end of the second quarter. Curis posted a second quarter loss of $4 million, or $0.08 per share, similar to its second quarter 2006 loss of $3.9 million, or $0.08 per share. Although revenues decreased during the quarter, operating expenses did as well.
In other financing news:
• AM-Pharma BV, of Bunnik, the Netherlands, raised €2.5 million (US$3.4 million) from existing investors Forbion Capital Partners and Inventages Venture Capital in the first tranche of its Series C financing. The company expects the round to close before the end of the year. Proceeds will be used to continue Phase II trials of recombinant human alkaline phosphatase for acute renal failure and ulcerative colitis, as well as to initiate Phase II trials with antimicrobial peptide hLF1-11 in hospital-acquired bacterial infections and systemic Candida infection. HLF1-11 also is being studied in the prevention of infections in hemopoietic stem cell transplant patients.
• Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Jerusalem, closed a private placement that generated $2 million through the sale of stock and warrants. Shares were priced at 50 cents, a premium to the company's Friday closing price (OTC BB:ORMP) of 40 cents, and warrants were priced at 75 cents. Proceeds will support ongoing Phase I trials of Oramed's orally ingestible soft gel insulin capsules. Data from the trials are expected in mid-2008.
• Urigen Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Burlingame, Calif., raised $2.1 million in a financing led by Platinum-Montaur Life Sciences LLC. Proceeds will be used to advance the Phase II painful bladder syndrome drug URG101 and the Phase I overactive bladder drug URG301. Shares of Urigen (OTC BB:URGP) fell 4 cents, or 12 percent, to close at 29 cents Monday. Urigen was formed through the reverse merger of Valentis Inc. and Urigen NA Inc. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 10, 2006.)