By Kim Coghill

Washington Editor

Aronex Pharmaceuticals Inc. Thursday said it entered a definitive agreement with Acqua Wellington North American Equities Fund Ltd. for equity financing covering the sale of up to $24 million of Aronex's common stock during the next 28 months.

Connie Stout, Aronex's director of corporate communications, would not comment beyond a prepared statement saying further details will become available within the week upon filing with the SEC.

Sales of common stock in this financing may be made pursuant to an effective shelf registration previously filed by Aronex with the SEC, the prepared statement said. The total number of shares may be sold in increments over the life of the agreement, with Aronex controlling the amount and timing.

Aronex, of The Woodlands, Texas, develops and commercializes medicines to treat cancer and infectious diseases.

Aronex's stock (NASDAQ:ARNX) closed Thursday at $5.06, down 12.5 cents.

The company currently has four products in clinical development, including Atragen for the treatment of patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia for whom therapy with tretinoin is necessary but an intravenous administration is required.

The new drug application filing for Atragen hit a snag in August 1999 when the FDA informed the company that the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee would not consider it at its September 1999 meeting because there were deficiencies in the NDA. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 6, 1999.)

In July, Aronex submitted an amendment to the NDA, which is being reviewed under a six-month Prescription Drug User Fee Act guideline. (See BioWorld Today, July 7, 2000.)

Aronex in mid-October said researchers from the Intituto Nacional de Enfermedades Neoplasticas in Lima, Peru, determined that Atragen used as a monotherapy as a treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia showed the potential to induce complete remission.

A second product in late-stage development is Nyotran, a medicine for systemic fungal infections. The FDA is reviewing data to determine the regulatory strategy for submission of the NDA.

Aroplatin, a novel platinum product for solid tumors, is another product the company is developing. In 1999, Aronex was granted orphan drug designation for Aroplatin for malignant mesothelioma.

The final product is Annamycin, a liposomal formulation of a novel anthracycline designed for problems of cardiotoxicity and multiple-drug resistance that are sometimes experienced with anthracyclines. In 2000, Aronex continued to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Annamycin in breast cancer and leukemia, particularly refractory acute myeloid leukemia.