It has been a busy financing year for Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc.

In April, the company raised $30 million; in June, $29 million; and now, just three months later, $59.8 million gross.

In the latest offering, the Tarrytown, N.Y.-based company priced 2.5 million shares of common stock at $23.90 apiece, and expects to receive net proceeds of $57.4 million.

"These were all bought deals or block trades in which the investment bank purchases the shares and then it's their responsibility to sell them," said Richard Krawiec, the company's vice president of investor relations and corporate communications.

Underwriters UBS Investment Bank and CIBC World Markets, both of New York, have an overallotment option to buy another 375,000 shares, which could bring Progenics $9 million more in proceeds, if exercised. UBS participated in all three of this year's financings, with CIBC participating in the first and third. (See BioWorld Today, April 4, 2005, and June 13, 2005.)

Progenics intends to use the money to fund clinical trials of methylnaltrexone (MNTX) and PRO 140, as well as its other product candidates, and to fund research and development programs, as well as general corporate purposes.

MNTX is the company's opioid receptor antagonist and is derived from naltrexone, a drug often prescribed for narcotic and alcohol dependence. Phase III data of MNTX in opioid-induced constipation and advanced medical illness (AMI) have shown a laxative effect within an hour in 60 percent of patients after being subcutaneously administered.

Progenics has enrolled 119 out of 130 patients in a second Phase III trial for that indication and expects to complete enrollment in the near future. It intends to file a new drug application in the second quarter of next year.

There are about 1.8 million AMI patients in the U.S. who have opioid-induced constipation. AMI patients have six months or less to live.

Progenics also has generated positive Phase II data of an intravenous formulation of MNTX in post-operative bowel dysfunction. The company plans to meet with the FDA to design a Phase III trial.

"We are about to begin Phase II studies of an oral form of the drug for people who take opioids for chronic pain and suffer from opioid-induced bowel dysfunction," Krawiec told BioWorld Today. "All of these [indications] are very serious problems for which there are no currently approved drugs."

Another of Progenics' products, the viral entry inhibitor PRO 140, has shown positive results in healthy volunteers. The company now intends to take that product into a Phase Ib with HIV-positive individuals later this year, Krawiec said.

Last week, the National Institutes of Health awarded Progenics a $10.1 million grant for research and clinical testing of PRO 140, a humanized monoclonal antibody. Phase I results showed a dose-dependent binding of PRO 150 to CCR5-expressing cells, with the highest PRO 140 concentration significantly coating those cells for at least 60 days.

Progenics also is studying the viral entry inhibitor PRO 542 in Phase II with HIV patients with advanced disease who no longer respond to standard antiretroviral therapy. And it is developing vaccines to prevent the relapse and occurrence of prostate cancer, as well as monoclonal antibodies to the prostate-specific membrane antigen.

The most recent financing should further all of Progenics' programs, though Krawiec declined to say how far the money would take the company. Progenics has a burn rate of about $10 million to $12 million a quarter, and it had $68.6 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of June 30.

Following the offering, the company has 24 million shares outstanding.

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