Washington Editor

Advanced Life Sciences Holdings Inc., which went public last year, is raising an additional $36 million in gross proceeds by way of a private placement of stock and warrants.

Specifically, the Woodbridge, Ill.-based company entered definitive agreements to sell about 10.2 million common shares, as well as warrants for another 5.1 million shares, to a group of institutional investors. Prior to the placement, Advanced Life Sciences had about 15 million shares outstanding, as of Sept. 30, as well as about $19 million in cash reserves.

Representatives at the biopharmaceutical firm could not discuss the latest financing per SEC rules.

The per-share purchase price in the placement is $3.53, reflecting a slight discount of the stock’s value over the last two months and about a third less than the initial public offering price of $5.

On Tuesday, the shares (NASDAQ:ADLS) gained 5 cents to close at $3.50. The warrants are exercisable at 180 days through the fifth anniversary of the date they are granted, at an exercise price of $3.81 per share.

The company is developing drugs for infection, cancer and inflammation. Its lead candidate, cethromycin, is a ketolide antibiotic in late-stage clinical development for respiratory tract infections. The drug recently entered a pivotal study to test its use in community-acquired pneumonia.

That randomized, double-blinded, multicenter, multinational trial is designed to compare cethromycin’s efficacy and safety to the approved antibiotic in that indication, Biaxin (clarithromycin, from Abbott Laboratories). Cethromycin will be evaluated using once-daily 300 mg doses over a seven-day course of therapy. The clinical cure rate at the test-of-cure visit is the primary endpoint of the trial, which is powered to demonstrate non-inferiority at the 95 percent confidence interval. About 250 patients are planned for enrollment in each arm.

The company has worldwide rights to cethromycin, excluding Japan, and a second-generation drug, ABT-210, by way of a two-year-old license from Abbott Park, Ill.-based Abbott.

Last year, Advanced Life Sciences’ IPO brought in $28.7 million, net of underwriting commissions and offering costs. In that deal, the company sold 6.5 million common shares, including the exercise of the underwriters’ overallotment option. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 8, 2005.)

The latest financing is expected to close on or about Thursday. Lazard Capital Markets LLC, of New York, acted as its sole placement agent.

In other financing news:

• Antares Pharma Inc. signed a definitive agreement to raise about $11 million through a private placement with a group of accredited investors. The sale includes about 8.8 million common shares at $1.25 apiece, as well as warrants for another 6.6 million shares exercisable at $1.50 each. The Exton, Pa.-based drug delivery firm plans to use the net proceeds for working capital, acquisitions, in-licensing of products or technologies and capital expenditures. Completing the deal remains subject to American Stock Exchange approval and other customary closing conditions. On Tuesday, Antares’ stock (AMEX:AIS) dropped 11 cents to $1.31.

• CODA Genomics Inc. closed a Series B funding worth more than $1.6 million. The company, of Irvine, Calif., is focused on DNA synthetic biology and protein expression. It offers gene kits and services optimized to assemble DNA into single genes to express specific proteins. The round was led by the Life Science Angels, and includes Monitor Ventures and previous investors from the Tech Coast Angels.

• Cytomics Systems, of Paris, raised €10 million (US$11.9 million) in a second round of financing from a group of investors led by Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners and Truffle Venture. Proceeds will be used to accelerate the development of the company’s most advanced antifungal compounds, and to initiate preclinical studies in a second program aimed at cancer. Societe Generale Asset Management Alternative Investments also supported the financing round. Aelios Finance acted as financial advisor. In separate news, Cytomics appointed John Thebault to the position of director of clinical research.

• Cerus Corp. said it plans to offer 4.5 million common shares in an underwritten public offering to be made pursuant to an effective shelf registration statement. The company, of Concord, Calif., also plans to grant the underwriters a 675,000-share overallotment option. All shares are being offered by Cerus, which is developing immunotherapy and blood safety products. The offering will be marketed by Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., of Milwaukee, and JMP Securities LLC, of San Francisco, will act as co-lead manager. On Tuesday, Cerus’ stock (NASDAQ:CERS) lost 79 cents to close at $10.83.

• Generex Biotechnology Corp. received $11 million through the exercise of previously issued warrants, boosting the Toronto company’s cash reserves to more than $31 million, its strongest position in more than four years. Generex said the funding positions it to continue its global commercialization endeavors on the oral insulin product Generex Oral-lyn, and to further the work of its Antigen Express subsidiary on its synthetic peptide vaccine programs for avian influenza and breast cancer. On Tuesday, Generex’s stock (NASDAQ:GNBT) fell 17 cents, or 7 percent, to $2.21.

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