Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. raised $51 million earlier this week through a private placement of 12 million shares at $4.25 each.

The price represents a 2.3 percent discount from the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company's 60-day average trading price. The financing was expected to close Wednesday, when shares (NASDAQ:ISIS) ended at $5.05, down 8 cents.

Investors also will receive warrants to purchase about 3 million shares at $5.23 per share.

New York firms Needham & Co. and Fortis Securities LLC are acting as the exclusive placement agents for the offering.

Net proceeds - expected to be about $48 million - will cover research, drug discovery and development activities, as well as preclinical and clinical studies, capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes.

Lynne Parshall, Isis' executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the financing strengthens Isis' balance sheet, providing enough money to fund operations at least through 2007.

Isis focuses on its expertise in RNA to discover and develop drugs for its pipeline and for partners. It has 11 antisense drugs in development to treat metabolic, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and cancer. It also is developing and commercializing the TIGER biosensor system to identify infectious organisms.

The $51 million financing comes just eight months after Isis restructured its operations, laying off 165 employees, in order to refocus resources on its pipeline of second-generation antisense drug candidates. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 11, 2005.)

Since then, it has done just that, forming an $80 million agreement in May with New York-based Pfizer Inc. to identify second-generation antisense drugs to treat ophthalmic disease. (See BioWorld Today, May 25, 2005.)

Earlier this month, Isis and Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. extended their antisense drug alliance for two years, adding a third Isis compound, ISIS 345794, to Lilly's pipeline. The product is designed to target Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3, a protein that regulates cell division and growth and prevents cell death. Isis and Lilly recently started Phase I development in the two oncology drugs discovered during the original four-year deal: LY2181308 and LY2275796. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 9, 2005.)

In its own pipeline, Isis is advancing alicaforsen to treat ulcerative colitis. It recently completed Phase II studies. It also is working on ISIS 113715 in Phase II for diabetes. And it recently completed a Phase I of the cardiovascular drug, ISIS 301012.

Vitravene is Isis' one marketed product. Approved in 1998, it is indicated to treat cytomegalovirus retinitis in AIDS patients.

No Comments