By Karen Young

Inex Pharmaceuticals Corp. entered an agreement to sell 5.7 million shares of its common stock at C$7 per share to raise C$40 million (US$25 million).

The syndicate of underwriters is led by BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia. The syndicate also will have an option to increase the offering by up to another 1.4 million common shares for proceeds up to $50 million. The per-share stock price was determined ¿in the context of the market,¿ said Ian Mortimer, senior manager of investor relations for Inex, of Vancouver.

Closing is expected on or about Dec. 13. Inex¿s stock (TSE:IEX) fell C1 cent Monday to close at C$6.97.

¿It solidifies our balance sheet so that we can go to the next level and prepare our lead product for development,¿ said David Main, Inex¿s president and CEO, noting that the company has four to five years of cash. ¿Most importantly, it gives us the financial reserves to move one more product out of our pipeline.¿

That lead product is Onco TCS, a targeted chemotherapeutic that is in a pivotal Phase II/II trial as a treatment for relapsed, aggressive non-Hodgkin¿s lymphoma. Inex expects to file an NDA in early 2003. By the end of the year, Inex plans to have enrolled 100 patients in the trial, with results scheduled to be made public in the fourth quarter of next year.

Onco TCS (Transmembrane Carrier System) is being developed with Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland. In a deal valued at $39 million and initiated in May, Elan is providing the majority of the funding for the program, Main said. Onco TCS is the company¿s proprietary formulation of a lipid-based delivery system. The system encapsulates the drug vincristine. (See BioWorld Today, May 1, 2001.)

It will be about six months before the company can decide which additional product in its pipeline to set forth in clinical trials.

¿We¿re getting very close to completing all of the preclinical evaluation,¿ Main said.

The funding also will be used to advance the company¿s five-year plan to evolve from a development-stage biotechnology company to a specialty pharmaceutical company.

¿Our long-term goal is not to partner, [but to] take products to approval ourselves,¿ Main said.

Last week, Inex announced a deal with GlaxoSmithKline plc under which Inex will license its drug delivery technology to the London-based company to make targeted cancer drugs. The agreement focuses on the Transmembrane Carrier System, Inex¿s technology designed to direct more of a drug to the cancer site and keep it there for a longer period of time, resulting in a more effective and less toxic product.

The products will be developed using GSK¿s camptothecin compound topotecan hydrochloride. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 21, 2001.)

The syndicate of underwriters includes Raymond James Ltd., of Vancouver; RBC Capital Markets Inc., of Toronto; Yorkton Securities Inc., of Toronto; and Dlouhy Merchant Group Inc., of Montreal.

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