Medicure Inc. is ending the year with plenty of cash in its coffers after closing a $25.9 million private placement.

The Winnipeg, Manitoba-based firm issued 19.9 million shares priced at $1.30 each, along with warrants to purchase 3.98 million additional shares at an exercise price of $1.70. Although originally anticipating $20.3 million in proceeds, the company pulled in an additional $5.6 million thanks to the "appetite from European investors," said Hogan Mullally, manager of investor and public relations for Medicure.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., of New York, acted as lead placement agent, while St. Louis-based A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. and Santa Monica, Calif.-based Montgomery & Co. LLC served as co-placement agents.

The funds will primarily be used to support the company's ongoing pivotal trial of its cardioprotective drug, MC-1, which last month began enrolling patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. The money should be "sufficient to pay for the entire Phase III study," Mullally told BioWorld Today, as well as provide some cash for general corporate purposes.

The MEND-CABG II trial is expected to enroll about 3,000 patients randomized to receive either MC-1, administered at 250 mg, or placebo prior to surgery and for 30 days following surgery. The primary endpoint will measure the reduction in the composite cardiovascular death and nonfatal myocardial infarction up to postoperative day 30. Medicure said that enrollment will take about a year and, pending positive data, anticipates filing a new drug application for MC-1, with a market launch in late 2008 or early 2009. The product has fast-track status. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 20, 2006.)

Medicure holds all the rights to MC-1. Though it is considering licensing deals for Europe and Japan, the company likely will take on at least a portion of the North American sales itself, building on a sales staff launched earlier this year to market Aggrastat, an approved glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor for acute coronary syndrome. Medicure gained rights to Aggrastat (tirofiban hydrochloride) in August from Minneapolis-based MGI Pharma Inc. for $19 million plus royalties to Aggrastat developer, Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck & Co. Inc.

Following MC-1, the company's cardiovascular pipeline includes a second late-stage product, MC-4232. Designed as a combination of MC-1 and ACE inhibitor lisinopril, MC-4232 aims at treating diabetic patients with hypertension and has completed Phase II studies. The company anticipates beginning a Phase III program next year.

The company also has rights to MC-4262, a compound that combines MC-1 and an angiotensin receptor blocker for hypertension in patients at increased cardiovascular risk due to metabolic syndrome. That drug is in early stage development.

Medicure, which reported a net loss of C$3.2 million (US$2.8 million), or C3 cents per share, for the first quarter of its fiscal year, had about C$26.8 million in cash as of Aug. 31. That figure included $25 million from U.S. and European investors in a May financing. All told, the company has brought in $51.5 million within the last 12 months. (See BioWorld Today, May 8, 2006.)

Shares of Medicure (AMEX:MCU) closed at $1.23 Thursday, down 2 cents.

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