Washington Editor

Adolor Corp. raised $103.5 million in gross proceeds from a public offering of 6 million shares of common stock priced at $17.25 each.

All shares are being offered under a shelf registration filed with the SEC in August. Merrill Lynch & Co., of New York, is the lead underwriter. Co-managers are Lehman Brothers Inc., of New York; Pacific Growth Equities LLC, of San Francisco; Adams, Harkness & Hill Inc., of Boston; and First Albany Corp., of New York.

The underwriters have an option to purchase up to an additional 900,000 shares within 30 days to cover overallotments. The company expects to complete the sale on or about Nov. 12. After the offering, the company will have about 37.7 million shares outstanding.

Adolor's stock (NASDAQ:ADLR) climbed 71 cents Thursday to close at $18.12.

Net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, which may include increasing working capital, acquisitions, in-licensing of products or technologies or capital expenditure, an Adolor spokeswoman told BioWorld Today. Due to SEC-imposed quiet period rules, she wasn't able to comment further.

In its third-quarter financial results for the period ended Sept. 30, Adolor reported about $114.9 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. The company reported a net loss of $13.8 million for the third quarter, and $36.7 million for the first nine months of the year.

Adolor, of Exton, Pa., specializes in the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription pain medicine.

Entereg (formerly ADL 8-2698 or alvimpan), a mu opioid antagonist, is being developed via a deal with GlaxoSmithKline plc, of London, for the management of postoperative ileus, or POI. Signed in April 2002, the deal is potentially worth $270 million to Adolor.

POI, often associated with patients undergoing open abdominal surgery, is characterized by pain, abdominal distention or bloating, nausea and vomiting, accumulation of gas and fluids in the bowel and delays in the passage of flatus or stool. There are no FDA-approved drugs for the management of POI.

The new drug application, expected to be filed late in the first half of 2004, likely will include data from four Phase III trials.

The first two trials hit their primary endpoints. The third trial, a safety study called 14CL306, ended with favorable results. (See BioWorld Today, April 3, 2002, and Sept. 24, 2003.)

Adolor expects to complete enrollment of 660 patients in the fourth Phase III, study 308, later this quarter, with top-line results in the first quarter of 2004.

Entereg, Adolor's lead candidate, is designed to selectively block the unwanted effects of opioid analgesics on the gastrointestinal tract. It is potentially a first-in-class compound. In addition to postoperative ileus, Entereg also is being tested in the treatment of bowel dysfunction associated with the chronic use of opioids.

Beyond Entereg, Adolor is working on a sterile lidocaine patch for treating postoperative incisional pain. The company also has a number of discovery research programs focused on the identification of compounds for the treatment of pain.