In hopes of relisting its stock on a national exchange and to beef up its capital reserves, Antares Pharma Inc. completed a $14.6 million private placement.
The company said Monday that it raised $5.1 million, adding to the $9.55 million it raised earlier this month. Shares were sold at $1 each. All purchasers also received five-year warrants to purchase common stock equal to 33 percent of the total number of shares sold. They can use the warrants to purchase stock for $1.25 per share.
"We did the financing for basically two reasons," said Lawrence Christian, vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Antares. One, it needed money to remain attractive to its pharmaceutical partners that fund its development programs. And two, it needed to gain enough net equity in order to apply for listing on a national exchange.
"So now we can say we have capital reserves to show the large pharma companies that we will be around," Christian told BioWorld Today. "We have no immediate plans of spending that money."
Antares Pharma lost its Nasdaq SmallCap Market listing last year when its net equity fell below the market's requirements. The company's stock has since been listed on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol "ANTR." It closed Monday at $1.16.
Christian said he is unsure whether Antares will attempt a listing on the Nasdaq or American stock exchanges.
The company develops specialty pharmaceutical products, such as needle-free and mini-needle injector systems, transdermal gel technologies and fast-melt oral tablet technology. Antares distributes its needle-free injector systems in more than 20 countries. It also conducts research and development with transdermal gel products and has several products in the clinic with U.S. and European partners.
Antares was formed in 2001 with the merger of Basel, Switzerland-based Permatec Holding AG and Minneapolis-based Medi-Ject Corp. Medi-Ject brought to Antares its device technologies, including needle-free injector systems, while Permatec brought the drug formulation capabilities, the liquids and gels.
"Both of them combine to be drug delivery across the skin," Christian said.
Permatec also brought two contracts to Antares for the development of hormone replacement therapy gels. The contracts were with Solvay Pharmaceuticals Inc., a division of Brussels, Belgium-based Solvay SA, and BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Lincolnshire, Ill.
"Both Solvay and BioSante are in the clinical trial stages on several of our products in female hormone replacement therapy," Christian said.
All of the products are in Phase II or further along, he said. In October 2002, BioSante initiated a Phase II trial with a transdermal testosterone gel. And in May 2003, it completed a Phase II/III trial for its estradiol topical gel product, Bio-E-Gel.
Antares has several hormone therapy products, including estradiol, an estradiol-progestin combination, testosterone for male hypogonadism and testosterone for the treatment of female sexual dysfunction.
Solvay holds European rights to some of Antares' products being developed, while BioSante holds North American rights. In September 2001, Solvay sublicensed from BioSante the U.S. and Canadian rights to an estrogen and progestogen combination transdermal hormone replacement gel product. The product incorporates Antares' advanced Combi Gel transdermal gel technology that enables multiple drugs to be delivered across the skin.
Antares recently formed a development agreement with ProSkelia SAS, of Paris, and a license agreement with privately held NPMG, both for the development of products that use Antares' ATD gel technology.
In December, Antares received a milestone payment from Eli Lilly and Co., of Indianapolis, as part of its license agreement for its needle-free injection technology in the fields of diabetes and obesity. Lilly initiated a clinical trial of the needle-free delivery system in April of last year. Financial terms of the agreement, which was formed in February 2002, were not disclosed.
Antares is based in Exton, Pa., but has manufacturing and research facilities in Minneapolis and research facilities in Basel, Switzerland.
SCO Securities LLC acted as the placement agent for the financing.