By Matthew Willett

Elitra Pharmaceuticals Inc. completed its third round of financing, a $22 million private placement of preferred stock by the San Diego-based antimicrobial functional genomics company.

Proceeds from the financing will be used for general corporate expenses, said Gregory Tibbitts, Elitra director of finance.

"Elitra plans to expand our facilities, bring on more personnel, continue and accelerate our research efforts and build infrastructure," Tibbitts said.

Last year the company raised $16 million through a similar financing, bringing its total funding since its 1997 founding to $41 million. (See BioWorld Today, July 22, 1999, p. 1.)

The company focuses on identifying novel therapeutics candidates using its proprietary screening technology, with an emphasis on antimicrobial compounds.

Elitra has identified more than 800 novel antimicrobial gene drug targets using its proprietary ultra-rapid techniques and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Incyte Genomics Inc.'s PathoSeq database, licensed to Elitra earlier this month.

Further corporate partners include LG Chemical Ltd., of Seoul, South Korea, which made a $30 million up-front equity investment in Elitra as a part of the collaboration to discover and develop antimicrobial drugs (see BioWorld Today, June 12, 2000, p. 1); and Axys Advanced Technologies Inc., of South San Francisco, which will supply Elitra with diverse compound-screening libraries and chemistry services.

Tibbitts said the financing "significantly enhances" the company's cash position, and should enable it to fund research and development efforts, though he couldn't say for how long.

The internal financing, he said, lured existing and new investors to the privately held company.

The company declined to provide further detail.

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