By Brady Huggett

Titan Pharmaceuticals Inc. reached purchase agreements for the sale of 1.2 million shares of newly issued common stock worth $43.8 million to selected institutional investors.

The purchase price was $36.50 per share. Following completion of the placement, Titan will have 27.2 million shares outstanding, and it had $79.8 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Sept. 30. It expects to file a registration statement with the SEC within 15 days after closing the transaction.

"This was a very focused placement with primarily one large premier institution," said Louis Bucalo, chairman, president and CEO of Titan. "We wanted to keep the placement small and had to turn away considerable interest."

Titan said it would use the proceeds from the offering to advance additional product indications in Phase III testing and other products, to acquire or in-license additional technologies or products, and for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

Titan, of South San Francisco, develops therapeutics for the treatment of central nervous system disorders, cancer and other diseases. Its product pipeline includes Zomaril, Spheramine, a triplex anticancer monoclonal antibody program and two other anticancer products.

Zomaril, a novel antipsychotic agent in development for schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders, is in seven Phase III studies. The trials are fully funded through Novartis Pharma AG, of Basel, Switzerland, its corporate partner for Zomaril. Zomaril acts by binding with serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain, thereby inhibiting the activity of serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 9, 2000.)

Spheramine is Titan's proprietary cell-based therapeutic product for Parkinson's disease. It is designed to produce dopamine in place of the patient's own neurons which can no longer do so. The product is in Phase I/II trials.

Its anticancer monoclonal antibodies - CeaVac, TriAb and TriGem - employ an advanced technology designed to stimulate a patient's immune system to recognize and destroy tumor cells. All three products are in Phase II or Phase III testing.

Pivanex, one of its other anticancer products, is a small-molecule drug that attacks cancer cells through the mechanism of cellular differentiation. Phase II studies have been initiated in non-small-cell lung cancer. Its other anticancer product, RB94, is a tumor suppressor gene therapy that has demonstrated in animal experiments an ability to eradicate tumor cells by local injection.

Titan's stock (AMEX:TTP) dipped $3.15 Thursday to close at $38.