Washington Editor

Favrille Inc. plans to use certain proceeds from a $44 million Series C financing to support a pivotal Phase III trial for its lead candidate, FavId, a treatment for follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

In the last six months, Favrille, a privately held firm located in San Diego, raised $10.6 million in Series B-2, earmarked for the open-label Phase II trial of FavId. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 16, 2003.)

Since its inception in January 2000, the firm has raised $77 million, including $6 million from a Series A and $16.9 million in total from the Series B. (See BioWorld Today, June 12, 2002.)

To date, Favrille has about $45 million in the bank (including the Series C), enough to carry it through two years, said Tamara Seymour, Favrille's chief financial officer and vice president, finance and administration.

Beyond supporting the Phase III study, which is expected to begin during the third quarter, proceeds from the Series C will finance general corporate purposes as well as ongoing analysis of the FavId Phase II study.

Seymour told BioWorld Today the Phase II study included 95 evaluable patients, and thus far, preliminary analysis has netted "promising" results. FavId, a patient-specific immunotherapy discovered by Favrille, is being studied in combination with Rituxan (rituximab), a cancer drug made by South San Francisco-based Genentech Inc.

FavId, a vaccine, is designed to stimulate the body's immune response against non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in an attempt to induce extended remissions with less toxicity than traditional chemotherapy, the company said.

Favrille has not partnered FavId, and Seymour said the firm plans to hold onto all rights as long as possible. With approval, she said company officials might consider signing a co-promotion distribution partner.

Aside from FavId, the company discovered and is developing a vaccine for T-cell lymphoma.

William Blair Capital Partners, of Chicago, led the round. Other new investors included Needham Capital Partners, of New York; Avtech Ventures, of San Diego; Oakwood Medical Investors, of St. Louis; Piper Jaffray Ventures Inc., of Minneapolis; Boston Life Science Venture Corp., of Taiwan; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, of Chevy Chase, Md. Also participating were existing investors Forward Ventures, of San Diego; Sanderling Ventures, of San Mateo, Calif.; Alloy Ventures Inc., of Palo Alto, Calif.; De Novo Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif.; and Lotus BioScience Investment Holdings Ltd., of Hong Kong.