The first full week of October proved to be a busy one for financings in the biotechnology world.

Genetix Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced Wednesday its completion of a $12 million equity investment round, while news broke Thursday of Lorus Therapeutics Inc.'s $15 million convertible debenture financing and Pain Therapeutics Inc.'s $58 million secondary offering.

Then there's Theravance, a South San Francisco-based company that raised $98.4 million in its initial public offering.

Not bad, considering the last biotech IPO to raise that much was conducted in April by Cytokinetics Inc., also of South San Francisco, which brought in $103.2 million.

Theravance IPO Covers Phase III For Telavancin

Theravance conducted its $98.4 million IPO in order to increase its capitalization and financial flexibility. The company will use the proceeds, along with $10 million to $20 million of its existing cash and cash equivalents, to fund the Phase III trials of its lead product, telavancin.

Listed on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol "THRX," the company's stock closed Thursday at $18.25 - well above the IPO price of $16 per share. Theravance also managed to be one of the few companies in the biotech space this year to price its IPO above its expected range; it had suggested a per-share price of $13 to $15. The company filed for the IPO in June. (See BioWorld Today, June 15, 2004.)

With the sale of about 6.2 million shares, the company expects to receive about $89 million net from the IPO. If a 922,500-share overallotment option is exercised in full, net proceeds would grow to about $102.7 million.

Underwriters include New York-based Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. and Lehman Bros. Inc. as the leads, and New York-based Credit Suisse First Boston and San Francisco-based Thomas Weisel Partners LLC.

Theravance started out as a discovery company and has its own pipeline of product candidates. Four of those have advanced into clinical trials, including telavancin. The company has another seven internally discovered products in preclinical development. Theravance focuses on therapeutics for respiratory diseases, bacterial infections, overactive bladder and gastrointestinal disorders.

In 2002, the company entered a long-acting beta-2 agonist collaboration with London-based GlaxoSmithKline plc to develop and commercialize treatments for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They now have eight candidates, five of which are in clinical trials. The parties entered a second strategic alliance in March that gave GSK an option to license product candidates from Theravance's current and future drug discovery programs initiated prior to Sept. 1, 2007.

Telavancin is an injectable antibiotic that entered a Phase III trial in complicated skin and soft-tissue infections in September. Theravance intends to start another Phase III trial in hospital-acquired pneumonia by the end of the year. IMS Health said worldwide sales in those indications totaled $730 million in 2003, with vancomycin leading the pack with sales of $370 million.

Theravance has three programs in preclinical studies in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gastrointestinal disease and anesthesia. Its overactive bladder candidate TD-6301 began a Phase I trial in December. The company expects to initiate additional Phase I trials this year.

Concurrent with the closing of the IPO, GSK will purchase for about $6 million 377,180 shares of Theravance Class A common stock at $16 each. GSK also will have an overallotment option that, if exercised in full, would bring Theravance $6.9 million in total through the private sale.

Founded in 1996, Theravance initially was known as Advanced Medicine Inc., but changed the name in April 2002. Following the IPO, the company has about 42.6 million shares outstanding.

Genetix Initiates Gene Therapy Trial

For Cambridge, Mass.-based Genetix, the $12 million round will help fund a Phase I/II trial of its LentiGlobin hemoglobin gene therapy for patients with sickle cell disease and thalassemia major. The company's researchers have demonstrated durable correction of both diseases in mouse models.

The Phase I/II trial will be among the first clinical trials of a gene therapy to be initiated since the FDA and authorities overseas shut down several gene therapy trials in 2003 following adverse results in two patients. The patients, who displayed an unusual lymphoproliferative blood disorder, were involved in a French clinical trial against severe combined immune deficiency (SCID) - or "bubble boy" disease. All 10 children who received a therapeutic gene therapy dose in that trial now are living at home and are apparently cured, according to a report in Nature Medicine. However, the blood disorder has persisted in one child.

Researchers have shown that the adverse results in the French trial were caused by a combination of biological factors specific to SCID disease and to the particular form of gene therapy used in the trial. The research helped lift the bans on a broad category of gene therapy trials. Genetix said its LentiGlobin hemoglobin gene therapy would be as effective as the French gene therapy, but without the severe adverse, because it included numerous biological safety enhancements in the design.

The company's round was led by TVM Techno Venture Management, of Boston, and included investments from ABN AMRO Capital, of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and Easton-Hunt Capital Partners, of New York. As part of the financing, Genetix appointed to its board Stephen Hoffman, of TVM; Geert-Jan Mulder, of ABN AMRO; and John Friedman, of Easton-Hunt.

LentiGlobin hemoglobin gene therapy uses a highly modified human lentivirus to deliver a corrective version of the native beta-globin gene to the chromosomes of blood stem cells that are found in bone marrow.

Lorus' $15M Three-Tranche Financing For R&D Costs

Toronto-based Lorus plans to use its $15 million to finance the company's research and development and ongoing operations. It completed the first $5 million tranche on Thursday.

The placement was made with The Erin Mills Investment Corp. (TEMIC), which received a convertible debenture for $5 million principal that will mature in 2009. The debenture is convertible at TEMIC's option at any time before that at $1 per common share. The price represents a 33 percent premium to Tuesday's closing stock price. Lorus' shares (AMEX:LRP) rose 1 cent on Thursday, to close at 61 cents.

TEMIC agreed to purchase two additional secured convertible debentures, each in the amount of $5 million, next year on Jan. 14 and April 15. The conversion price will be the greater of $1 or the 20-day weighted average trading price of the common shares, less the maximum discount permitted by the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Lorus is focused on the research and development of cancer therapies. The company has three products in clinical trials, and is conducting eight Phase II trials and one Phase III registration trial. Virulizin is in a pivotal Phase III trial for pancreatic cancer. GTI-2040 is in various Phase II trials for kidney, colon, lung and breast cancers, and for solid tumors and acute myelocytic leukemia. And GTI-2501 is in a Phase II trial for prostate cancer.

Pain Therapeutics: $58M To Advance Three Products

Raising $58 million in a secondary offering, South San Francisco-based Pain Therapeutics plans to use funds for general corporate purposes, according to its prospectus.

The funds will go toward working capital, as well as research and development, expansion of the company's commercial function and the use of its technology, or the acquisition of other technologies or products.

The company offered 8 million shares at $7.25 apiece, and granted underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1.2 million shares of common stock to cover overallotments. New York-based Citigroup and UBS Investment Bank are acting as joint book-running managers, while CIBC World Markets and Rodman & Renshaw are acting as co-managers.

Pain Therapeutics will have 42.6 million shares outstanding following the offering.

The company specializes in developing drugs for pain management. It has three drugs in the pipeline, including Oxytrex, PTI-901 and Remoxy. Oxytrex is a new oral painkiller that is in two Phase III trials to treat severe chronic pain. PTI-901 is in two Phase III trials to treat men and women with irritable bowel syndrome, and Remoxy is an anti-abuse version of long-acting oxycodone that is expected to enter a Phase III program in December.

Pain Therapeutics' stock (NASDAQ:PTIE) dropped 39 cents on Thursday to close at $7.

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