By Brady Huggett

XOMA Ltd. said it has agreed to sell 3 million common shares for net proceeds after expenses and fees of about $43.3 million. The financing is subject to customary closing conditions.

In a prepared statement, the company said the funding was meant to shore up its financial position for the anticipated commercialization of its psoriasis product, Xanelim. The company ended the first quarter with $32.3 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments. It posted a net loss of $7.6 million in the quarter, or 11 cents per share, increased from $6.3 million in 2000¿s first quarter. However, it increased its revenue, generating $2.9 million in the first quarter of 2001, up from $2.6 million in the first quarter of 2000.

XOMA¿s stock (NASDAQ:XOMA) rose $1.76 Tuesday, or about 12 percent, to close at $16.80. It has traded between $4 and $16.50 in the past 52 weeks. The company has about 66.1 million shares outstanding.

Berkeley, Calif.-based XOMA¿s product, Xanelim, for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, is partnered with Genentech Inc., of South San Francisco. The companies have co-developed Xanelim since they began their $35 million collaboration in 1996. The companies released positive preliminary results in May from two pivotal trials.

Both Phase III trials hit their primary endpoint of achieving a 75 percent or greater improvement in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index scores over placebo. The companies will look at data from beyond the initial 12-week period of the trials as well as data from two other Phase III trials under way ¿ a retreatment trial and a one-year continuous trial ¿ before making the final decisions concerning regulatory filing. (See BioWorld Today, May 25, 2001.)

The offering was underwritten by U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc., of Minneapolis; CIBC World Markets, of New York; Adams, Harkness & Hill Inc., of Boston; and Arnold & S. Bleichroeder Inc.

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