Washington Editor

Favrille Inc. said it intends to use proceeds from a $10.6 million Series B-2 financing to help complete an ongoing Phase II study evaluating its lead vaccine candidate and to initiate a pivotal Phase III trial.

The vaccine, FavId, is a patient-specific immunotherapy discovered by Favrille, a privately held firm located in San Diego. It is being studied in combination with Rituxan (Genentech Inc.) for the treatment of low-grade or follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Since its inception in January 2000, Favrille has raised a little more than $33 million in three financings. In its Series A, the company collected $6 million. The Series B brought in $16.9 million, about $2 million more than it had originally sought. (See BioWorld Today, June 12, 2002.)

Tamara Seymour, Favrille's chief financial officer, told BioWorld Today the company has $10 million in cash (including the Series B-2) and 36.4 million outstanding shares.

Of the current funding, John Longenecker, Favrille's president and CEO, said, "Favrille's ability to raise this funding at favorable terms, despite the current economic environment, demonstrates the enormous potential that investors see in our investigational vaccine program."

FavId is designed to stimulate the body's immune response against NHL in an attempt to induce extended remissions with less toxicity than traditional chemotherapy, the company said.

Data from the ongoing, multicenter Phase II are expected in early 2004, Seymour said. Currently, the study is enrolling patients who have not received chemotherapy or any prior treatment for their lymphoma, as well as patients who have relapsed or are refractory to prior treatments.

Favrille aims to begin the Phase III in the second quarter, and does not anticipate seeking a partner.

Beyond FavId, the company is developing a vaccine for T-cell lymphoma, expected to enter Phase I early next year. Favrille also discovered that product.

Aside from San Mateo, Calif.-based Sanderling, other investors in the Series B-2 included Forward Ventures, of San Diego; Alloy Ventures, of Palo Alto, Calif.; De Novo Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif.; Lotus BioScience Investment Holdings Ltd., of Hong Kong; Gray Ghost LLC, of Lutherville, Md.; and Chicago-based Heller Financial Leasing Inc., a division of GE Technology Finance.