In the second biotech public offering of the year, Dendreon Corp. raised $130.7 million, money that will be used to fund clinical trials and develop a commercial infrastructure for Provenge.

The Seattle-based company sold 10.25 million shares of common stock at $12.75 each for net proceeds of $122.4 million, after underwriter discounts and other expenses. It filed a shelf registration for the securities in October. The underwriters - led by New York-based UBS Securities LLC but including Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray & Co. and New York-based Needham & Co. Inc. and Lazard Freres & Co. LLC - have an overallotment option for up to 1.5 million shares. The offering is expected to close on Friday.

The company was unable to comment due to SEC-imposed quiet-period rules.

However, in its SEC filing, the company said proceeds will go toward clinical trials and to develop a commercial infrastructure for Provenge, as well as for research and development and potential acquisitions of products and technology. It also will cover general corporate purposes and will be placed in short- and long-term interest-bearing securities and money-market funds, pending its use.

The company expects to have 55.4 million shares outstanding following the offering. Its stock (NASDAQ:DNDN) rose 77 cents Tuesday to close at $14.

Provenge, the company's most advanced product, is a therapeutic vaccine designed to treat prostate cancer. Data from the first Phase III placebo-controlled trial showed a significant clinical benefit in delaying time to disease progression and delaying the onset of disease-related pain in men with androgen-independent prostate cancer (AIPC) whose cancer had a Gleason score of 7 or less. The medical community believes that Gleason scores, the measure of the aggressiveness of a patient's tumor, of 7 or less suggest a better prognosis.

Earlier this month, Dendreon released data showing that patients receiving Provenge had an 89 percent overall increase in survival time as compared to placebo. The company is working to confirm that data in a second Phase III trial, which is enrolling 275 men at more than 60 centers in the U.S.

The FDA has granted Provenge fast-track designation, and Dendreon owns worldwide commercial rights. The company reacquired commercial rights in Asia last November when Tokyo-based Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd. returned them, giving Dendreon the opportunity to pursue a global partner and prepare to file a biologics license application in 2005. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 17, 2003.)

Prostate cancer is the most common solid-tumor malignancy in men in the U.S., with more than 1 million men currently diagnosed. AIPC is an advanced stage of prostate cancer in which the tumor growth is no longer regulated by the male hormone androgen. Provenge, which is composed of a recombinant version of prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) and antigen-presenting cells from a patient's blood, is designed to stimulate the immune system to recognize and kill prostate cancer cells. PAP is found in about 95 percent of all prostate cancers.

Aside from Provenge, Dendreon is studying APC8024 in a Phase I trial to treat HER-2/neu overexpressing breast, ovarian and colon cancers. In the preclinical setting, the company is studying the Trp-p8 pathway, monoclonal antibodies targeting HLA-DR and serine proteases, and prodrug product candidates to treat cancer.

Dendreon's offering is the second biotech public offering this year. NeoPharm Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., raised $68.4 million last week. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 23, 2004.)