Renovis Inc. entered the public arena as the third biotech company to conduct an initial public offering this year, raising $66 million.

The company sold 5.5 million shares at $12 each below its expected range of $13 to $15. But after raising the $66 million, it was not the only biotech business celebrating fund raising Thursday. Two others conducted follow-on offerings: Seattle Genetics Inc. raised $57.75 million and Exact Sciences Corp. raised $40.5 million.

Renovis listed its stock on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol "RNVS." The stock closed Thursday at $14.50, up $2.50, or 20.8 percent.

With the IPO, the company has 23.7 million shares outstanding. It expects to receive $59.7 million in net proceeds, as well as an additional $3 million from a concurrent private stock sale of 250,000 shares to Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco.

According to the company's prospectus, it plans to use proceeds for general corporate purposes, including clinical trials, research and development, administrative and manufacturing expenses, as well as potential acquisitions.

A representative of Renovis, of South San Francisco, could not comment due to SEC quiet-period rules. The company granted underwriters an overallotment option for 825,000 shares. The underwriters included New York-based firms Goldman, Sachs & Co., CIBC World Markets Corp., and S.G. Cowen Securities Corp., as well as U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, of Minneapolis.

Renovis is studying three clinical candidates. In May, partner AstraZeneca plc, of London, started two Phase III trials of Cerovive in acute ischemic stroke. One trial is being conducted in Europe, Australia, South Africa and Asia, while the other is in the U.S., Canada and South America, each involving 1,500 patients. The companies also will conduct a global safety study in 600 patients with acute hemorrhagic stroke. They could file for regulatory approval of Cerovive in 2006.

The company also is studying REN-1654, an oral drug for neuropathic pain, in Phase II trials, and REN-213, an intravenous drug for acute post-operative pain, in a Phase II trial. Those products are not partnered.

In earlier-stage research, the company is studying agents to treat pain, trauma, stroke and neurodegenerative diseases. It expects to file an investigational new drug application in 2004, and another one in 2005.

Renovis raised $45 million in a Series E round last August, bringing its total venture funds raised to $96 million. It filed for the IPO in October. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 21, 2003.)

Seattle Genetics Sells 7 Million Shares

Seattle Genetics Inc., of Bothell, Wash., raised $57.75 million in its public offering of 7 million shares at $8.25 per share.

"We feel we're in an excellent position after this financing to go forward with the development plans we have for three-plus years," said Clay Siegall, CEO and president of the company. "We're in great shape financially, we have a strong pipeline and an incredible staff."

With an anticipated $54 million in net proceeds, the company plans to use the money for discovery and development, as well as for product manufacturing and other corporate purposes.

"The bulk of our capital that we raised is going to go toward clinical and development efforts," Siegall told BioWorld Today.

The company granted its underwriters an overallotment option of about 1.1 million shares. Underwriters include co-lead managers CIBC World Markets Corp. and Banc of America Securities LLC, both of New York, as well as co-manager WR Hambrecht & Co., of San Francisco.

The company will have 55.5 million shares outstanding following the offering. Its stock (NASDAQ:SGEN) fell 71 cents Thursday to close at $8.30.

All of Seattle Genetics' drug candidates are based on genetically engineered monoclonal antibodies, monoclonal antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) and antibody-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (ADEPT).

The company has three compounds in the clinic: SGN-30, an anti-CD30 monoclonal antibody in Phase II trials for Hodgkin's disease and anaplastic large-cell lymphoma; SGN-15, an ADC in Phase II work in combination with Taxotere to treat non-small-cell lung cancer; and SGN-40, an anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody, which could enter Phase I studies in multiple myeloma within the next six to 10 weeks. The company submitted an IND for SGN-40 at the end of 2003.

It expects to move both SGN-30 and SGN-15 into pivotal studies in 2005.

Siegall said part of the company's value is that it studies drug candidates as monotherapies as well as combination therapies.

"When you look at how antibodies are used, antibodies can be effective on their own, like Rituxan, but Rituxan is also very effective in combination with chemotherapy," he said.

Rituxan, approved for relapsed or refractory low-grade or follicular lymphoma, was developed by Biogen Idec Inc. and is partnered with F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. of Basel, Switzerland, and Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco. It is co-marketed in Japan by Zenyaku Kogyo Co. Ltd., of Tokyo.

In the preclinical setting, Seattle Genetics is studying two ADCs: SGN-35 for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and immunologic diseases, and SGN-75 for the treatment of renal cancer, hematologic malignancies and potentially immunologic diseases. It also is studying SGN-17/19, an ADEPT product candidate that targets the p97 antigen, for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.

Siegall said the company plans to put SGN-35 and SGN-75 in the clinic sometime in 2005.

Siegall founded Seattle Genetics, along with chairman Perry Fell, in January 1998, raising funds from two private rounds before conducting its initial public offering in March 2001.

"I think the company had a great 2003. We made progress on every one of our clinical programs and every one of our development programs, and we also announced fantastic partnerships on our technologies," Siegall said. "I think Seattle Genetics, with this offering, is positioned to have a fantastic 2004."

Exact Sciences Raises $38.1M

Exact Sciences, of Marlborough, Mass., priced its offering of 6 million shares at $6.75 per share, raising an estimated $38.1 million in net proceeds.

Following the offering, the company has 25.2 million shares outstanding. Its stock (NASDAQ:EXAS) fell 3 cents Thurdsay to close at $7.31.

The company expects net proceeds to be about $37.7 million, or $43.4 million if the underwriters exercise in full the overallotment option. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including sales and marketing, and research and development. The company also might use proceeds to acquire additional businesses, products and technologies, or to establish strategic alliances.

Underwriters for the offering include co-lead managers Merrill Lynch & Co. and UBS Securities LLC, both of New York, as well as co-managers Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, of San Francisco, and Leerink Swann & Co., of New York.

Founded in 1995, Exact Sciences has worked to apply the discoveries of the human genome to develop an accurate colorectal cancer-screening test. The company developed PreGen-Plus, which was launched last August. The test includes technologies that isolate and analyze trace amounts of human DNA that are shed into stool from the exfoliation of cells that line the colon. When the cancer is present, a tiny portion of the DNA will be representative of cancerous or pre-cancerous lesions.

In June 2002, Exact Sciences formed a $75 million license agreement and alliance with Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings, of Burlington, N.C., to commercialize PreGen-Plus. (See BioWorld Today, June 28, 2002.)

In the most recent version of the test, the companies incorporated a new sample preparation technology called Effipure, which increases the yield of DNA that can be isolated from a stool sample.

A company representative declined to comment Thursday due to SEC quiet-period rules.

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