BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - DrugAbuse Sciences SAS has completed a convertible bridge loan financing of €5 million, to which all its major shareholders subscribed.

They included London-based 3i; Alpinvest, of Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Canaan Partners, of Rowayton, Conn.; CDC Innovation, of Paris; Nomura Phase IV Ventures, of London; and the company's founder, Philippe Pouletty.

At the same time, Pouletty stepped down as chairman of DAS and was replaced by Patrick Langlois, formerly vice chairman and chief financial officer of Strasbourg-based Aventis SA. In addition, Ross Maclean has been appointed CEO; he previously was the company's vice president of regulatory affairs.

The additional funds and the management changes are designed to enable DAS to pursue the clinical development of alcohol and drug abuse products. Its lead compound is a formulation of Naltrexone Depot that uses DAS's proprietary slow-release technology, LACTiz, and is administered by monthly intramuscular injection.

One Phase III trial has been completed, but DAS plans to conduct a second one to support its case for regulatory approval. Ross Maclean said the company's strategy is to "complete the development of Naltrexone Depot for the treatment of alcoholism and push other product candidates forward." In particular, it plans to find a partner for the drug.

Other products in DAS's pipeline include DAS-431, a dopamine D1 receptor agonist licensed from Abbott Laboratories, of Abbott Park, Ill., which is being developed for the treatment of cocaine addiction, and Buprenorphine Depot, a formulation of buprenorphine for monthly intramuscular injections, for maintenance therapy in opiate addictions.

DAS is based in Lyon, France, but is due to move its headquarters to Paris within a few weeks. In past funding rounds, it has raised more than $47 million in equity - $24 million in April 2001 from 14 European and American venture capital funds, as well as Pouletty and other managers, and $23.2 million in October 1999.