By Matthew Willett

Atrix Laboratories Inc. filed to put 4 million shares on the shelf for later sale, a funding that could gross the company proceeds of nearly $100 million, based on Wednesday's closing price.

According to the company's prospectus, the financing will give the company flexibility to finance potential business acquisitions, fund development and growth of its product offerings and repay indebtedness that it may incur.

The move to finance further came just over a month after the company sold $15 million of its equity to Sanofi-Synthelabo as a part of a North American marketing agreement for Leuprogel, Atrix's leuprolide acetate for subcutaneous depot injection. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 10, 2001.)

The exclusive rights to market the drug in North America will cost Paris-based Sanofi-Synthelabo up to about $60 million, and the deal included a license fee, research and development support and payments for clinical, regulatory and sales milestones in addition to royalty payments based on sales.

Leuprogel, for treatment of advanced prostate cancer, is formulated for one-, three- and four-month applications. Preparations for a new drug application for the one-month formulation are under way.

In addition to the Sanofi-Synthelabo deal, Fort Collins, Colo.-based Atrix has partnerships with Pfizer Inc., of New York; Elan Pharmaceuticals Inc., of San Francisco; and Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland.

Atrix has 13.64 million shares of common stock issued and outstanding, not taking into account the 4 million it registered Wednesday.

Atrix's shares (NASDAQ:ATRX) closed down $3.687 Thursday, or 15 percent, to close at $21.25. n