Investors poured cash into public and private biotech companies late last week, with a flurry of equity and debt purchases seen in the sector.

At the head of the list, Vicuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. is looking to raise at least $71 million through a somewhat rare public offering - among financings this year, the vast majority have been private equity or debt deals.

The King of Prussia, Pa.-based firm plans to sell 5 million common shares, which would bring in $71 million if they sold at the $14.20 closing price of the stock Thursday. On Friday, the company's shares (NASDAQ:MICU) gained 47 cents to close at $14.67.

Vicuron, which was formed last year through the merger of Versicor Inc. and Biosearch Italia SpA, included a 650,000-share overallotment option that could garner an additional $9.2 million. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 1, 2002.)

The FDA recently accepted its new drug application for anidulafungin, which belongs to a new class of antifungal agents called echinocandins. The lead antibiotic in its pipeline, dalbavancin, remains in Phase III trials for Gram-positive infections. (See BioWorld Today, April 29, 2003.)

New York-based Morgan Stanley and Pacific Growth Equities Inc. in San Francisco are acting as the offering's co-lead managers, with Morgan Stanley its sole bookrunner. Lazard Freres & Co. LLC and Harris Nesbitt Gerard Inc., both of New York, are serving as the offering's managing underwriters.

The company reported 34 million shares outstanding on March 31, with $145.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Xenogen Closes $22 Million Private Equity Placement

Xenogen Corp. raised about $22 million after closing a preferred equity financing. The Alameda, Calif.-based company said it would use the funding to continue commercialization efforts related to its in vivo imaging technology.

Privately held Xenogen's products include the IVIS Imaging System camera and hardware with its Living Image software, Bioware modified cells and microorganisms to emit light, and LPTA bioluminescent animal models that emit light when target genes are active.

New investor Abingworth Management, of London, led the financing, which also included a number of existing investors. To date, Xenogen said it has raised more than $100 million.

Insmed Raises $12 Million In Private Stock Sale

Insmed Inc. said it raised about $12 million in gross proceeds after completing a private placement of common stock to a group of institutional investors.

The Richmond, Va.-based company sold 4.44 million common shares at $2.70 apiece, and also issued warrants in connection with the transaction. On Friday, its shares (NASDAQ:INSM) fell 38 cents, or 11.6 percent, to close at $2.91.

Through the quarterly period ended March 31, Insmed reported about 33.1 million shares outstanding. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Securities LLC served as lead placement agent.

Insmed said it would use the proceeds primarily to fund ongoing activities related to its lead drug candidate, rhIGF-I/rhIGFBP-3, and for other working capital needs. The company last month began a Phase III trial of the drug, a hormone replacement therapy for children with growth hormone insensitivity syndrome. Insmed said the financing provides it with enough capital to fund the product's launch, with potential approval expected as early as next year. (See BioWorld Today, June 24, 2003.)

The company reported more than $30 million in cash holdings following the placement.

Cytogen Closes $10 Million Private Sale Of Shares

Cytogen Corp. raised gross proceeds of $10 million after closing a private placement of common stock to institutional investors.

The Princeton, N.J.-based firm agreed to sell about 1.2 million common shares at $8.53 apiece, and the investors also received warrants to purchase an equal number of shares at an exercise price of $12.80 apiece. The warrants may be automatically exercised in full under certain circumstances. On Friday, Cytogen's stock (NASDAQ:CYTO) fell 28 cents to close at $9.69.

A month ago, the company raised gross proceeds of $5 million through the sale of more than 1 million shares at $4.74 apiece in an agreement that also included warrants for the investors. Through March 31, Cytogen reported about 8.8 million shares outstanding.

The company said it planned to use the latest proceeds for the previously reported reacquisition of North American and Latin American marketing rights to Quadramet (samarium SM 153 lexidronam), a skeletal-targeting therapeutic radiopharmaceutical for the relief of bone pain in prostate and other types of cancer.

Immune Response Funded Through Warrants Deal

The Immune Response Corp. said it gained $9.4 million in gross proceeds through a voluntary exercise of more than 7 million Class A warrants originally issued in December. Proceeds to the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company include more than $7 million in cash as well about $2.4 million from the surrender of outstanding debt held by Cheshire Associates LLC, an entity affiliated with a company director.

The company said it would apply the funding to operations, including clinical trials, vaccine manufacturing and the repayment of about $1.2 million in equipment loans and other debt.

Through an incentive program to Class A warrant holders, Immune Response issued more than 7 million common shares upon exercise of the warrants and about 3.5 million new common shares to participants. Upon exercise of the Class A warrants, the company also issued more than 7 million Class B warrants, each of which entitles the holder to purchase one common share at an initial exercise price of $1.77.

On Friday, its stock (NASDAQ:IMNR) gained 10 cents to close at $2.70.

After the voluntary warrant exercise, about 2.5 million Class A warrants remain outstanding. Issued late last year, they are part of the company's $8.4 million offering of units consisting of about 9.5 million shares of common stock and about 9.5 million Class A warrants, each initially exercisable at $1.33 to purchase one common share and a Class B warrant. (See BioWorld Today, Dec. 12, 2002.)

Trinity Sells Convertible Notes For $20 Million

Trinity Biotech plc raised $20 million after completing a private placement of 3 percent convertible notes due 2007 to three institutional investors.

The notes are convertible at the investors' option at any time into Dublin, Ireland-based Trinity's common stock at a fixed conversion price of $3.55, representing a 22 percent premium to the stock's average closing for the past 30 days. The placement did not include warrants to purchase common shares.

Trinity, which develops diagnostic products, reported 41.2 million shares outstanding through the quarterly period ended March 31. Its stock (NASDAQ:TRIB) fell 7 cents Friday to close at $3.17.

$10 Million Investment Proposed To SIGA

SIGA Technologies Inc. said it received a proposal for an investment of up to $10 million from MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., which initially would invest $1 million in exchange for 694,444 common shares priced at $1.44 apiece, and warrants to purchase an additional 381,944 common shares exercisable at $2 apiece. MacAndrews & Forbes also would be granted an option, exercisable through Oct. 1, to invest up to an additional $9 million on the same terms.

SIGA develops products for infectious diseases, including those for use against biological warfare agents such as smallpox. On Friday, its stock (NASDAQ:SIGA) gained 6 cents to at $1.77.