Point Therapeutics Inc. received $13.5 million in commitments from new and existing institutional investors in an equity private placement, which brings the total the company has raised in the past seven months to more than $24.7 million.

Boston-based Point Therapeutics is selling 3 million shares at $4.50 per share to investors, who also will receive five-year warrants to purchase an additional 900,000 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $6.25 per share.

Point Therapeutics' stock (OTC BB:POTP) rose 30 cents Thursday to close at $5.80.

The private placement is expected to close today. Michael Duffy, senior vice president and general counsel, told BioWorld Today that company attorneys had advised against making public comments at this time.

The company said that it planned to use the capital to support Phase II plans for PT-100, its lead compound, being studied as a therapeutic for cancer and hematopoietic disorders.

The release indicated that gross proceeds also will be used for general corporate purposes. The company completed a private placement in September that secured $11.2 million in gross proceeds. At year-end 2003, Point Therapeutic had about $14.1 million in cash and investments and posted a net loss of $7.8 million for the year. For the fourth quarter, the company had a net loss of about $2.3 million.

PT-100 is an orally active small molecule that the company said interacts with a target enzyme believed to be Fibroblast Activation Protein (FAP), located primarily in the bone marrow, the spleen, the lymph nodes and the stroma surrounding solid tumors.

The interaction between PT-100 and FAP is thought to stimulate the production of cytokines, growth factors and chemokines, which, in turn, cause enhanced immune system effector-cell expansion and chemo-attraction (the migration of immune system effector cells to a specific site), it said.

Point Therapeutics said PT-100 is different from chemotherapeutic agents because its activity is mediated by stimulating the immune system to mount an attack against the tumor. It said that PT-100 could be incorporated into "many existing chemotherapy regimens that are used to treat solid tumors."

A Phase II trial of PT-100 was initiated in early March in combination with Taxotere for the treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. The single-arm, two-stage study is expected to enroll up to 41 patients who have failed a platinum-containing regimen as first-line treatment. Point Therapeutics said other secondary endpoints to be evaluated are duration of tumor response, time to tumor progression and incidence of severe neutropenia and anemia.

The company said it is planning three additional PT-100 Phase II trials during the second quarter. The additional trials will study PT-100 in metastatic melanoma, both in combination with cisplatin and as a single agent, as well as in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

PT-100 also is being evaluated in a Phase I study in combination with Rituxan in patients with hematologic malignancies, such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.