By Matthew Willett

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. completed a private placement of shares and warrants that grossed the Novato, Calif., company $45 million.

The 4.8-million-share offering at $9.45 per share was priced at a 10 percent discount to the average closing price for the 20 days preceding the close. Warrants to purchase about 700,000 shares at $13.10 apiece also were issued.

BioMarin Chairman and CEO Fredric Price said the company¿s progress in the clinic and in infrastructure improvement has caught investor eyes.

¿BioMarin has made a tremendous round of progress in the development of our clinical program and in adding to our manufacturing capacity in the last several months,¿ Price told BioWorld Today. ¿I think the financial community is taking notice of what¿s been happening in the last six months.¿

BioMarin¿s lead product, Aldurazyme, is nearing regulatory submission, he said, and it¿s the commercialization potential and additional programs further back in the company¿s pipeline that this round of funding will support.

A Phase III trial of Aldurazyme in mucopolysaccharidosis-I (MPS-I) began in December. Price said the company expects that trial to be completed in August, and the company would be in good shape if the data supported a previous trial¿s positive results.

¿I think what the investment community is sensing is that there is considerable progress now on [Aldurazyme], and that there¿s a reasonable chance that when the data is unblinded from the Phase III trial it could look positive.¿

BioMarin is developing Aldurazyme in a 50-50 joint venture with Genzyme Corp., of Cambridge, Mass. Assuming that the Phase III data indicate safety and efficacy, Price said, the company will submit a biologics license application for Aldurazyme at the end of the year.

Increasing the company¿s manufacturing capacity also has been progressing, he said. ¿We have the production capacity to produce product for commercial purposes, and in the last six months we¿ve reduced our manufacturing cost by a factor of four,¿ he said.

And, he added, investors should be impressed by the company¿s pipeline.

¿When you look around the corner and see another product with some research coming out and a third product about to enter the clinic, and when you look toward next year and think we may have one to two additional products going into the clinic, our company, you see, at only four years old, is now leveraging its enzyme expertise and is ramping up the development process across five product lines,¿ Price said.

The $45 million funding will add to the $30 million in the bank BioMarin had at the end of the first quarter. Price said BioMarin is burning about $10 million a quarter.

OrbiMed Advisors LLC, of New York, led the round, and Franklin Resources Inc., of San Mateo, Calif.; equity4life, of Zurich, Switzerland; MPM BioEquities Fund, of South San Francisco; and Orbitex Management Inc., of Nassau, the Bahamas, participated.

BioMarin¿s stock (NASDAQ:BMRN) rose 22 cents Thursday, closing at $11.45.

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