BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON - Cyclacel Ltd. raised £21.3 million (US$39 million) in an oversubscribed fourth round of private funding, bringing its total private equity raised to date to $123 million.

Paul McBarron, Cyclacel's chief financial officer, told BioWorld International the company was very pleased with the round, which brought in six new investors.

"The market only started to come back in the fourth quarter," he said. "Although oversubscribed, we decided to move to a close, take the money and move on with the business."

The new investors are: Societe Generale Asset Management Alternative Investments, of France; the Carnegie Fund, of Sweden; DC Thomson and Co. in the UK; NIF Ventures in Japan; Quest for Growth, of Belgium; and UOB Venture Technology Investments, of Singapore. The addition of those six brings the total number of institutional investors in Dundee-based Cyclacel to 20.

Cyclacel previously had expressed ambitions to go public, but at the time the company embarked on the fund raising there was no possibility of an initial public offering, McBarron said. "The markets do look more favorable now," he said. "But from our perspective, it was important to get two year's cash."

The new money allows Cyclacel to progress development of its oral cell cycle inhibitors.

"We will carry on as planned, directing the money to existing assets," McBarron said. The lead drug, CYC202, an oral cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, is in two Phase IIa trials in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatinum in non-small-cell lung cancer and with capecitabine in breast cancer. The product also is being tested in glomerulonephritis. The second product, CYC682, an oral nucleoside analogue, is due to enter Phase II trials soon.

The company also intends to progress its preclinical portfolio, which includes small molecules for oncology, HIV/AIDS and Type II diabetes.