By Matthew Willett

NeoTherapeutics Inc. has seen the light glinting through the dark curtains that continue to obscure the financing window in the biotechnology industry, financing itself bit by bit with institutional investments in the $3 million to $10 million range.

So far this year, the Irvine, Calif.-based developer of neurodegenerative therapeutics said it has raised $20 million. Its latest round disclosed late Friday, a 1.4-million-share placement with two institutional investors at $4.25 per share, grossed the company about $6 million.

The company also renegotiated the terms of its previous financing arrangement with the institutional investors. The unnamed investors agreed to reduce the breakup fee for not exercising the second tranche of the company¿s April 17 financing agreement from $1 million to $405,000, and deferred the payment requirement for 30 days.

NeoTherapeutics officials could not be reached for comment Monday.

Since February, NeoTherapeutics has raised funding on nearly a monthly basis. A February financing raised the company $3.5 million through the sale of 1.6 million shares to Amro International, of the Netherlands. In March the company raised an additional $5 million through the placement of 1.25 million shares and 125,000 warrants with an exercise price of $5 per share with IAT ReInsurance Syndicate Ltd.

At the end of the first quarter the company reported $14.1 million in cash and cash equivalents, and said it anticipated spending between $25 million and $30 million over the remainder of 2001.

NeoTherapeutics had about 16 million shares outstanding at the end of February. The company¿s stock (NASDAQ:NEOT) rose 17 cents Monday to close at $4.63.

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