Funding continues to flow into the biotech sector, with news late last week of three more multimillion-dollar financings.
Public offerings from Cypress Bioscience Inc. and Pharmacyclics Inc. padded their cash holdings through slightly marked-down stock sales, while a subsidiary of Evotec OAI AG raised money through a private investment.
Cypress generated gross proceeds of $69 million after pricing 6 million common shares at $11.50 apiece.
The per-share price reflected a 3.5 percent discount to the prior day's closing bid on the stock. On Friday, the shares (NASDAQ:CYPB) gained $1.08 to close at $13.
The San Diego-based company sold all the stock pursuant to a shelf registration statement previously filed with the SEC.
The underwriters have a 30-day overallotment option to purchase up to 900,000 additional shares. Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., of New York, acted as the offering's book-running manager. Co-managers included CIBC World Markets Corp., Lazard Freres & Co. LLC and Jefferies & Co. Inc.
Earlier this year, Cypress partnered U.S. development and marketing rights for milnacipran to New York-based Forest Laboratories Inc. in a deal worth up to $250 million. The product is in a Phase III program to treat fibromyalgia. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 12, 2004.)
The deal provided $25 million in up-front cash to Cypress, which had $23.5 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments at Dec. 31. It ended the year with about 22 million shares outstanding, and lost $7.2 million in the preceding three-month period.
The company originally gained a license to milnacipran from Pierre Fabre Medicament SA, a division of Paris-based bioMerieux Pierre Fabre, in August 2001.
Pharmacyclics Restocks With Offering
Pharmacyclics raised gross proceeds of $36.2 million through the sale of about 2.8 million common shares at $13 each.
The per-share price reflected a 2.6 percent discount to the prior day's closing bid. Friday, the shares (NASDAQ:PCYC) climbed $1.05 to close at $14.40.
The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company also offered all the shares pursuant to an effective registration statement previously filed with the SEC.
Pharmacyclics granted a 30-day overallotment option for the purchase of up to 417,391 additional shares to the sole underwriter - Pacific Growth Equities LLC, of San Francisco.
The offering is expected to close Wednesday.
The company is evaluating a fast-tracked anticancer drug named Xcytrin (motexafin gadolinium) in various clinical trials, including a pivotal trial that began more than a year ago. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 20, 2002.)
It remains in a Phase III study for the treatment of brain metastases in lung cancer patients. A Phase II trial is testing Xcytrin's ability to treat relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia, while Phase I combination studies are looking at its use for the treatment of locally advanced head and neck cancer and gliomas.
Pharmacyclics reported $74.4 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments at Dec. 31. It had about 16.3 million shares outstanding at that date, and lost $7.4 million in the prior quarterly period.
Evotec Subsidiary Closes Series A Round
Evotec Neurosciences GmbH secured €25 million in a first round of venture capital financing.
Based in Hamburg, Germany, its current focus is on Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders. The company said the funding would allow it to accelerate development of internal and in-licensed compounds. The latter include compounds brought on board last week through an agreement with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., of Basel, Switzerland.
Evotec Neurosciences gained an exclusive worldwide license to develop and market NMDA-receptor NR2B subtype selective antagonists for the treatment of central nervous system disorders, such as neuropathic pain, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The company said the compounds are in late-stage preclinical development and show an improved side effect profile compared to nonselective NMDA receptor antagonists.
The private placement was led by TVM Techno Venture Management, of Munich, Germany, and co-led by 3i plc and MVM, both of London. Other investors included Ventech, of Paris; Star Ventures, of Munich; and undisclosed private individuals. The Series A investment reduced Evotec OAI's stake to 42 percent of Evotec Neurosciences.
The Hamburg-based parent company is traded publicly on a German exchange.