Allos Therapeutics Inc. completed a private placement of 2.5 million shares of stock to Perseus-Soros Pharmaceutical Fund LP, raising $15 million.

The per-share price was $6. Prior to the placement, Allos had about 23.1 million shares outstanding.

“This transaction is really more about taking on a strategic financial partner than it is having an additional $15 million,” said Allos President and CEO Michael Hart.

A strategic investor such as Perseus-Soros is important to assist Allos as it executes its business plan and becomes a cancer-focused company, Hart said.

Hart said the money is earmarked for the development of its lead compound, RSR13, (efaproxiral injection) and commercialization. RSR13 is a synthetic small molecule that increases the release of oxygen from hemoglobin, which is important in treating hypoxia in connection with radiation treatments for cancerous tumors. RSR13 is designed to enhance radiation therapy by making it more effective, the company said.

Currently, RSR13 is in late-stage Phase III trials for the treatment of metastatic brain tumors. Enrollment of 500 patients is expected to be complete in the second half of the year. The endpoint of the trial is survival. Assuming positive results, Allos plans to file for a new drug application for brain metastases in the third quarter. If Allos receives approval in brain metastases, the company would begin a Phase III trial in non-small-cell lung cancer to expand the label. Hart said RSR13 already has demonstrated an increase in median survival in glioblastoma multiforme and non-small-cell lung cancer. (See BioWorld Today, April 8, 2002.)

Allos plans to initiate a Phase II trial of RSR13 in cervical cancer, Hart said.

Lung cancer and cervical cancer are important indications “not only for label expansion but for use of RSR13 in other tumor types that use radiation as standard of care,” Hart said.

The money also is earmarked for the development of BGP-15, an orally bioavailable small molecule that reduces cellular stress induced by chemotherapy. Allos acquired development and marketing rights in the United States in March from N-Gene Research Laboratories, a privately held company based in Budapest, Hungary.

BGP-15 is in late-stage preclinical studies, and Allos plans to file an investigational new drug application by the end of the year.

Allos’ stock (NASDAQ:ALTH) fell 40 cents Wednesday to close at $6.80.

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