A month after acquiring Miikana Therapeutics Inc. and beefing up its oncology pipeline, EntreMed Inc. brought in $30 million in a private placement to fund clinical trials with its three lead products.
Rockville, Md.-based EntreMed entered agreements with new and existing investors, including its largest shareholder, Celgene Corp., of Warren, N.J., to place units consisting of shares of common stock and warrants at a purchase price of $2.31 per unit. The company will issue about 13 million shares of stock, plus warrants to purchase up to 6.5 million additional shares at a purchase price of $2.50 each. The warrants will become exercisable six months after closing.
SG Cowen & Co., of New York, served as lead placement agent, and Rodman & Renshaw LLC, also of New York, served as co-agent.
Proceeds will be used "for continuing development of our three lead oncology candidates," said James Burns, EntreMed's president and CEO, adding that the financing "reflects a maturing clinical pipeline" that includes two products in Phase II and one ready to enter Phase I.
Burns estimated that the proceeds, along with existing cash, would fund operations "well into 2007," though that will depend on how rapidly EntreMed's candidates move through the clinic. As of Sept. 30, EntreMed had cash and short-term investments totaling $33.4 million.
The first product, Panzem NCD (2-methoxyestradiol or 2ME2) is in Phase II development in a series of trials. EntreMed has an ongoing study in multiple myeloma and initiated a trial last month in patients with recurring glioblastoma multiforme. Panzem is based on 2ME2, a small molecule designed to attack tumor cells and block the development of new blood vessels.
The company also recently began a Phase II trial with MKC-1, a product it gained through the acquisition of Fremont, Calif.-based Miikana. The deal, which closed last month, was a stock transaction valued at about $21 million. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 27, 2005.)
MKC-1, an oral, small-molecule cell-cycle inhibitor, is being evaluated in patients with advanced or metastatic breast cancer who have failed conventional therapies. The product is designed to arrest cellular mitosis by inhibiting an intracellular target involved in cell division.
The third product, ENMD-1198, is a tubulin-binding agent that is based on a modified chemical structure of 2ME2, and aims at increasing antitumor and anti-angiogenic properties.
"That's about ready to go into Phase I," Burns said.
At this time, the company has no plans to partner, wanting instead "to develop them as far down Phase II as possible," he added. "But, after that, we may seek a co-development partner."
Proceeds from the recent financing also will go toward some of the company's preclinical work, such as the development of Panzem as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and compounds from Miikana's preclinical pipeline, which includes an aurora kinase inhibitor and a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor.
The company has not yet released its fourth-quarter earnings. It recorded a net loss of $4.4 million, or 9 cents per share for the third quarter.
Shares of EntreMed (NASDAQ:ENMD) closed at $2.29 Friday, up 3 cents.
In other financings news:
Tapestry Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Boulder, Colo., is raising $25.5 million to support ongoing clinical development of TPI 287, a third-generation taxane being evaluated in two Phase I trials. The company entered definitive agreements with a number of institutional investors, led by Special Situations Funds, Tang Capital Partners LP, and Baker Brothers Investments for the sale of 12.75 million shares of its common stock at $2 per share on a post-split basis. At the same time, board members approved a 1-for-10 reverse split for all outstanding stock. Investors in the financing also will receive five-year warrants to purchase up to an additional 12.75 million shares at an exercise price of $2.40 per share. Special Situations will have the right to appoint board members at closing. Tapestry's stock (NASDAQ:TPPH) lost 8 cents Friday, or 23.5 percent, to close at 26 cents per share.