By Matthew Willett
CuraGen Corp. registered with the SEC for the sale of various securities valued at up to $500 million, and Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. filed a similar shelf registration for securities valued up to $300 million.
CuraGen's announcement came as it disclosed the completion of the research phase of its agreement with Biogen Inc. The New Haven, Conn., company licensed five drug targets to Biogen, of Cambridge, Mass.
The agreement, signed in 1996, might still yield milestone and royalty payments for CuraGen in the future, according to Mark Vincent, director of corporate communications and investor relations at CuraGen.
"The collaboration was to provide drug targets to Biogen and for work on evaluating their preclinical pipeline. This collaboration included an initial equity investment of $5 million in CuraGen, and then a subsequent investment of another $10 million."
The shelf registration for CuraGen gives the company financing flexibility in the future, Vincent said.
"This is to advance our internal programs - we've got a number of preclinical candidates - and also to develop new technology and enable us to be in a stronger position for potential acquisitions," he said. "We're working internally on large-molecule antibiotics and protein therapeutics, and it's our intention to partner off our small-molecule targets and focus on our specialties: metabolic disorders, cancers, autoimmune diseases, inflammation and central nervous system disorders."
CuraGen's stock (NASDAQ:CRGN) closed Monday down $2.31 at $44.625.
Alexion, also of New Haven, said its $300 shelf registration lends it flexibility in the pursuit of its strategic goals. Its stock (NASDAQ:ALXN) fell $9.687 Monday, closing at $97.062.
Alexion President and CEO Leonard Bell said flexibility for the company and for investors was the key to the shelf registration.
"It offers flexibility all over the map," he said. "This doesn't commit us to sell any stock or securities at any point in time, but offers us the ability to sell securities with multiple types of maturity periods. The most attractive thing is that this offers us a more effective interaction between the company and investors."
Bell said pipeline progression is the aim of the possible funding.
"We would expect to use the proceeds from anything sold to increase clinical development and production of new human antibodies. We've got a portfolio of antibodies that we're looking at that may have applications in cancer, autoimmune disorders and inflammation."
Alexion is moving three compounds of note through its pipeline. A Phase II clinical trial for 5G1.1-SC for cardiovascular disease is under way, and the company is testing that compound for other indications in preclinical studies.
An autoimmune disease therapeutic, 5G1.1, has completed Phase I/II, and is in preclinical evaluation for another indication. The company's preclinical pipeline also includes several xenograft cell product candidates, and another autoimmune disease treatment, MP4.