A month after starting its first Phase III trial, QuatRx Pharmaceuticals Co. filed for its initial public offering, hoping to raise $86.25 million.
The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company's prospectus did not specify the number of shares to be offered or the share price, but said proceeds would be used to fund ongoing clinical development, preclinical work, working capital and other general corporate purposes, which could include in-licensing or acquiring additional products. Upon completion, the company's shares would be listed on Nasdaq under the symbol "QTRX."
QuatRx's chief financial officer, Gary Onn, said the company was in a quiet period and could not comment.
Last month, the company initiated a Phase III trial of ospemifene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) aimed at treating vaginal atrophy associated with estrogen deficiency in postmenopausal women. That study is expected to enroll about 800 patients.
In Phase II testing, ospemifene demonstrated beneficial effects on vaginal cell maturation, while having a positive effect on bone density. Data also suggested that it does not increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer, which has been a concern with long-term use of existing hormonal replacement therapies for treating menopausal symptoms.
QuatRx added ospemifene to its pipeline in May 2005 through the acquisition of private Finnish company Hormos Medical Co. Hormos became a subsidiary of QuatRx, and many of the combined company's 58-member staff work out of the drug discovery facility in Turko, Finland. (See BioWorld Today, May 17, 2005.)
A second drug from the Hormos acquisition, fispemifene, is ready to begin Phase II testing in older men with low testosterone levels. While existing testosterone replacement therapies consist of formulations of testosterone, fispemifene is a SERM designed to use the body's normal feedback mechanism to raise testosterone levels.
From its own portfolio, QuatRx has two dyslipidemia drugs in development: QRX-401 and QRX-431. Both are aimed at lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. QRX-401 is in a Phase I program and, so far, has been shown to be safe and well tolerated. The company expects to file an investigational new drug application for QRX-431 during the first half of this year.
Its psoriasis drug, becocalcidiol, recently completed a Phase IIb trial, demonstrating a statistically significant improvement in both the physicians' global assessment analysis and on the psoriasis symptom score. Becocalcidiol is a topical vitamin D analogue.
Because psoriasis falls outside of QuatRx's clinical focus of endocrine, metabolic and cardiovascular disease areas, the company said it plans to seek a partner for further development and commercialization.
Since its inception in late 2000, QuatRx has raised more than $67 million in private financing. For the first nine months of 2005, the company had a net loss of $36.2 million. As of Sept. 30, its cash position was $22.9 million.
The company's largest stockholders are Boston-based MPM BioVentures III, which holds 21.3 million shares, or 27.5 percent of the company; Wayne, Pa.-based TL Ventures, with 9.4 million shares, or 12.1 percent; Menlo Park, Calif.-based InterWest Partners, with 8.7 million shares, or 11.2 percent; Seattle-based Frazier Healthcare Ventures, with 8.3 million shares, or 10.7 percent; San Francisco-based Thomas Weisel Healthcare Venture Partners LP, with 5 million shares, or 6.46 percent; and Copenhagen, Denmark-based Biomedical Venture III Ltd., with nearly 4 million shares, or 5.2 percent.
As of Sept. 30, QuatRx had 13.5 million shares outstanding.
Underwriters for the IPO are Banc of America Securities LLC, of New York, as sole book-running manager, with SG Cowen & Co., also of New York, as co-lead manager. New York-based Lazard Capital Markets and San Francisco-based Pacific Growth Equities LLC will serve as co-managers.
In other financing news:
• Advaxis Inc., of Princeton, N.J., closed a financing arrangement with Cornell Capital Partners LP, of Jersey City, N.J., to bring in $3 million. Under the terms, Cornell committed the funding in the form of secured convertible debentures. Advaxis granted Cornell 4.2 million warrants exercisable on a cash basis to the company at about 29 cents per share, plus an additional 300,000 warrants exercisable at 34 cents per share. Advaxis said proceeds from the financing will be used to accelerate development of Lovaxin C, a Listeria cancer immunotherapy, as it begins a Phase I/II testing in cervical cancer patients and moves forward in other indications, such as breast, prostate and ovarian cancers. Shares of Advaxis, (OTC BB:ADXS) remained unchanged Monday at 24 cents.
• Insmed Inc., of Glen Allen, Va., filed a shelf registration statement that would allow it to sell up to $75 million of its common stock, preferred stock, or warrants for common or preferred stock. No offering has been announced at this time, but Insmed said it expects to use the proceeds from any offering for general corporate purposes, including expanding commercial and marketing efforts, increasing working capital, funding capital and clinical development expenditures and acquiring new products or technologies. The company's stock (NASDAQ:INSM) closed at $2.15 Monday, down 18 cents.
• Nuvelo Inc., of San Carlos, Calif., completed its previously announced public offering of 6.5 million shares, plus an additional 975,000 shares purchased by underwriters to cover overallotments, to bring in gross proceeds of $119.6 million. Shares were sold at $16 each. Proceeds are expected to go toward general corporate purposes, including the development of its drug candidates - alfimeprase, a direct-acting thrombolytic, and rNAPc2, an anticoagulant designed to inhibit the factor VIIa and tissue factor protease complex to treat acute coronary syndrome - as well as for development of a commercialization infrastructure and capital expenditures. Shares of Nuvelo (NASDAQ:NUVO) lost 31 cents Monday to close at $16.24. (See BioWorld Today, Feb. 1, 2006.)
• Santarus Inc., of San Diego, entered a committed equity financing facility (CEFF) with private investment group Kingsbridge Capital Ltd. Under the terms, Kingsbridge agreed to provide up to $75 million of capital for three years through the purchase of newly issued shares of Santarus' common stock, though Santarus will determine the exact timing and amount of any financings. The company can access money in tranches of up to the lesser of $10 million or 2.5 percent of Santarus' market capitalization at the time of the drawdown, and Kingsbridge will purchase shares of common stock at discounts ranging from 6 percent to 10 percent, depending on the average market price during an eight-day pricing period. Santarus is not obligated to use any of the $75 million. In connection with the CEFF, Santarus issued a warrant to Kingsbridge to purchase up to 365,000 shares at $8.28 per share, representing a 30 percent premium over the average closing bid price. Santarus' stock (NASDAQ:SNTS) closed at $6.67 Monday, down 9 cents.