BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON - Cell therapy company Intercytex Ltd. floated on London's Alternative Investment Market raising £15 million (US$26.5 million) to take the company to the first quarter of 2008, by when it expects to have submitted the lead product for approval.

"This may not be an immediate exit, but it is still a significant advance. Now all the shareholders are equal, the board is independent and we have more flexibility," Nick Higgins, CEO, told BioWorld International. "Six out of eight of our venture capital investors have put money in [the flotation], and we have a good, solid base of new institutional investors, so I'm very pleased."

Cambridge, UK-based Intercytex is issuing 13.9 million shares, giving a market capitalization of £60.2 million on completion. Of the £15 million, £4.2 million is coming from existing investors - the third tranche of money from a private third round funding completed in September 2005.

"That round raised £12 million that was split into three lots of £4 million, and it was agreed that if an IPO happened before the money was due, it would go into the flotation," Higgins said.

Intercytex did consider going public at the time of the third private round, and Higgins said: "We had a look in May 2005, but the public markets were pretty horrible, so we did a private deal. When we looked again before Christmas things looked better - the deal flow [in UK biotech] in December certainly made the market more buoyant." The IPO gives Intercytex £20 million cash.

The lead product, ICX-PRO, for leg ulcers, is in a multicenter Phase III trial in the U.S., Canada and the UK, with results expected in the first half of 2007. The company plans to start a Phase II trial in diabetic foot ulcers later this year. The product comprises active, allogenic human dermal fibroblasts in a human fibrin-based gel. In the Phase IIb trial in leg ulcers, 42 percent of patients who had a leg ulcer that had not healed after six months of standard care achieved complete wound closure with ICX-PRO.

A second wound-healing product, ICX-SKN, is due to commence a Phase I trial by the end of 2006.

"Although this is a Phase I, we will get efficacy data from this trial, and we expect ICX-SKN to be ready for Phase III within the scope of the current funding," Higgins said.

The other two products in the portfolio - for treating male pattern baldness and wrinkles - are classified by Intercytex as "aesthetic medicines." The baldness product, ICX-PRO, has completed a Phase I safety trial, and a Phase II trial is due to start in mid-2006, while the wrinkle treatment is in Phase I and due to enter a UK Phase II trial by mid-2006, also.

All Intercytex's products are derived from unmodified human cells and are manufactured by the company at its GMP facility in Manchester.

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