Washington Editor

Nabi Biopharmaceuticals intends to use proceeds generated through a $32.9 million private placement to help in its purchase of PhosLo and to pay for a Phase III confirmatory trial of StaphVAX.

The company sold nearly 5.5 million shares at $6 each. Prior to the offering, Nabi, of Boca Raton, Fla., had 39.1 million shares outstanding, and at the end of the first quarter the company had $46.9 million in cash. Lehman Brothers Inc., of New York, served as the exclusive agent for the private placement.

Nabi's stock (NASDAQ:NABI) closed Monday at $6.65, down 45 cents.

As reported in late June, Nabi signed an agreement to pay Braintree Laboratories Inc., of Braintree, Mass., $90 million in cash plus 1.5 million shares of stock for PhosLo (calcium acetate), a product used to treat patients with end-stage renal failure. (See BioWorld Today, June 25, 2003.)

Nabi agreed to pay Braintree $60 million in cash at the Aug. 4 closing while spreading the remaining $30 million in payments over a period ending March 2007. Also at closing, Nabi will issue 1.5 million shares that were valued at $10.2 million when the deal was announced.

Aside from the private placement proceeds and currently available cash, Nabi has a $35 million credit facility with Wells Fargo Foothill Inc., a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank, to help buy PhosLo, which has been on the market since 1991.

Mark Soufleris, Nabi's vice president of investor and public relations, told BioWorld Today the company views PhosLo as a great product in a promising market. "You've got a branded product that participates in a growing market and we believe in the hands of our sales force, we will be able to grow it nicely," he said. "[PhosLo] will spin off cash that will help fund other research and development."

Furthermore, PhosLo is used by the same physicians who would use StaphVAX (Staphylococcus aureus polysaccharide conjugate vaccine), a product being developed to prevent blood-borne infections in end-stage renal disease patients. PhosLo, sold in tablet and gel-cap form, is used to treat end-stage renal failure patients who suffer from hyperphosphatemia, or elevated levels of phosphate in the blood.

In an 1,800-patient Phase III trial ending more than two years ago, StaphVAX missed its primary endpoint of maintaining significant reduction in blood-borne infections for 12 months. However, trial data suggested that the vaccine kept end-stage renal disease patients from contracting an infection for up to 10 months. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 24, 2003.)

As a result, Nabi and the FDA agreed to a Phase III confirmatory trial of 3,000 end-stage renal disease patients with an eight-month endpoint.

Soufleris said the trial is expected to start in the second half of this year, and if all goes well, Nabi could file its biologics license application by the end of 2005.

Nabi expects to look at StaphVAX in other patient populations down the road.