By Matthew Willett

AnorMED Inc. filed with Canadian regulatory authorities for the sale of 1.5 million shares to a syndicate of underwriters at C$17 per share, a planned C$25.5 million (US$16.92 million) addition to the company's coffers it said will help fund clinical development.

The Vancouver, British Columbia, company, founded in 1996, focuses its discovery efforts on small-molecule, metal-based therapeutics. It has four product candidates in clinical development, including one in Phase III testing, two in Phase II testing and one in Phase I.

The offering, led by BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., of Toronto, also includes Goepel McDermid Inc., of Vancouver; RBC Dominion Securities Inc., of Toronto; and CIBC World Markets Inc., of New York, and is expected to close Feb. 6.

Underwriters will exercise their full overallotment option pursuant to an agreement entered earlier this month to purchase an additional 1.5 million shares at C$17 per share. AnorMED didn't offer the securities or register them in the United States.

In its prospectus AnorMED said it will combine the C$24.01 million it estimates it will have raised after expenses with its working capital of C$62 million, the majority of which the company earmarked for research.

The company said it plans to spend C$61.5 million to further clinical development, particularly for AMD-3100, its unpartnered Phase II AIDS therapeutic, and its preclinical chemokine antagonist program. AnorMED plans to use C$7.2 million for small-molecule drug candidate identification.

AnorMED also will use the funding for laboratory expansion and general corporate purposes. Company officials were unavailable for comment.

As of Sept. 30, AnorMED had C$63.4 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, and about 23.9 million shares outstanding.

It went public in 1999 after a seed round of financing that garnered it about C$20 million in 1996. The company is a spin-off from Johnson Matthey plc, of London. (See BioWorld Today, March 17, 1999.)

The company's lead product, Foznol, also known as Lambda, for treatment of kidney disease-associated excess phosphate levels, entered Phase III testing in January 1999. The commercialization and development of the lanthanum carbonate-based drug candidate is funded by Shire Pharmaceuticals plc, of East Anton, UK.

AnorMED also is pursuing research on a chemokine receptor antagonist as an AIDS, inflammation or cancer therapeutic and metallo-inhibitors for treatment of cancer or parasitic diseases.

AnorMED also has partnerships with AstraZeneca plc, of London, for ZD0437, and DuPont Pharmaceuticals, of Wilmington, Del., for the diagnostic imaging agent RP-517 and a preclinical cancer imaging agent.