By Randall Osborne

West Coast Editor

Two weeks after raising $16.9 million in its fourth round of private financing, AeroGen Inc. filed for an initial public offering (IPO) that would raise more than three times that much: $57.5 million.

The number of shares and price were not specified in the registration statement, and Jane Shaw, CEO of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AeroGen, said she could not comment on the IPO because of "quiet period" restrictions imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Founded in 1991 after filing for patents related to its liquid droplet ejector technology, AeroGen is focused on pulmonary drug delivery through aerosol formulations, with products in development for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and infectious diseases.

The company's lead product is a hand-held nebulizer, AeroNeb, expected to reach the market next year.

A line of inhalers, called the AeroDose series, is the subject of a co-development agreement for insulin delivery with Becton Dickinson and Co., of Franklin Lakes, N.J., which helped to design and manufacture the device, and made an undisclosed equity investment in AeroGen, under the terms of the pact signed in May.

In that deal, AeroGen keeps worldwide marketing rights to the adjustable-dose insulin product, and agreed to find a marketing partner. Becton Dickinson will design, develop and manufacture the drug container and dispenser, while AeroGen finishes its work on the inhaler.

AeroGen also has a deal with PathoGenesis Corp., of Seattle, to deliver that company's TOBI (tobramycin for inhalation) for cystic fibrosis with AeroGen's inhaler. PathoGenesis invested $2.5 million in convertible preferred stock as part of the March agreement, which includes royalties for AeroGen. A Phase I trial of inhaled TOBI began in July.

Last month's financing was a private placement, which included a handful of existing investors and several new ones. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 14, 2000, p. 1.)

As of June 30, AeroGen had $7.24 million in cash, and an accumulated deficit of $32.29 million.

Acting as lead manager in the IPO is Chase H&Q. Co-managers are CIBC World Markets and SG Cowen Securities Corp. AeroGen has applied for a Nasdaq listing under the symbol AEGN.

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