National Editor

With plans in the works for a new drug application and Phase I trials, Boston Life Sciences Inc. completed a private placement of $10 million with a small group of individual investors.

The financing gives the Boston-based firm $16 million, enough to last "well into 2005," said Joseph Hernon, chief financing officer.

Under the terms, Boston Life Sciences issued 10 million shares of common stock at $1 per share, incurring no placement-agent fees in the sale. The company's stock (NASDAQ:BLSI) rose 6 cents Thursday to close at 99 cents.

The company also has elected as CEO Robert Rosenthal, who has been with the company since July as president and chief operating officer. Former CEO David Hillson will remain as chairman.

Hernon said Boston Life Sciences expects to file an NDA for its Parkinson's disease imaging agent, Altropane, with which Phase III trials have been completed, in the first half of this year. A Phase IIb study is under way with Altropane as an imaging agent for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is expected to finish this year.

Phase I trials in stroke with the nerve growth factor Inosine are expected to begin "late this year or early next," Hernon told BioWorld Today.

In preclinical development are Fluoratec, an imaging agent for diagnosing Parkinson's disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; Troponin I, an anti-angiogenesis factor for solid tumors; the nerve growth factor AF-1 for acute and chronic central nervous system disorders; and transcription factors believed to control the expression of molecules associated with autoimmune disease and allergies.

"We can see the path for Inosine in the clinic within the next year," but the "vagaries of biotech development" make forecasts about other products difficult, Hernon said.

"Beyond Inosine, I wouldn't want to predict," he said.

Rosenthal echoed Hernon, telling BioWorld Today that, when he came aboard in July, "the first thing we did was look at everything under development and hone in on a couple of key programs - not to say we dropped other things." Emphasis was narrowed to Inosine and Altropane, although "clearly there are other things in the pipeline we feel good about," Rosenthal said.

Partners are a "very high priority," he added, as work goes ahead with the two more advanced products.

"When I say we're going to complete something by a certain time, it's a line in the concrete, not a line in the sand," Rosenthal said. "I don't want us to get ahead of ourselves as maybe we have in the past."

Boston Life Sciences has raised more than $65 million since 1992 to fund research programs conducted mainly at Harvard Medical School and affiliated medical centers.