By Karen Pihl-Carey

Antex Biologics Inc. raised $15 million in a private placement of stock and warrants with predominately new investors, as well as a few existing private and institutional investors.

The company, which self-managed the placement, has not released how much stock and how many warrants the placement entails.

¿From the standpoint of our overall development, it is a significant financing for us,¿ said Vic Esposito, chairman and CEO of Gaithersburg, Md.-based Antex. ¿It will enable us to really move forward, not only on the products we¿re working on, but we¿re looking at the acquisition of some things.¿

Proceeds, Esposito said, will help advance the company¿s three vaccines in clinical development and expand its functional genomics program.

Helivax, the company¿s vaccine for Helicobacter pylori, completed a Phase I trial and will likely move into a Phase II trial in the middle of the year. Campyvax, a vaccine for Campylobacter jejuni, a food-borne pathogen commonly referred to as traveler¿s diarrhea, is in a Phase II trial. And a vaccine for Haemophilus influenzae (nontypeable) otitis media, the common earache, which is partnered with Aventis Pasteur, formerly Pasteur Merieux Connaught, of Lyon France, is moving into a Phase II trial.

¿This [financing] is enabling us to really advance these programs through development,¿ Esposito said.

Antex also intends to accelerate preclinical development of its vaccines for Chlamydia trachomatis and Chlamydia pneumoniae and to further develop its new class of compounds to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Esposito would not say how long the $15 million would last the company. Antex had $1.6 million in cash and cash equivalents and $3.4 million in total assets on Sept. 30. It now has about 29 million shares outstanding. Its stock (OTCBB:ANTX) closed Thursday at $3.28, up 40.6 cents.

The company plans to expand its functional genomics programs, which use Antex¿s Adhesin-Receptor Technology (ART) and its Nutriment Signal Transduction (NST). ART and NST are the platform for Antex vaccines that prevent infection before bacteria can penetrate tissue.

¿We¿re a company that is very active in what I¿ll call functional genomics and proteomics, and it¿s through ART and NST that we discovered our new novel drug [candidates],¿ Esposito said.

Antex already has identified new vaccine antigens and antibiotic targets to address clinical needs for the prevention and treatment of chronic and antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections.

¿The company has focused in the chronic bacterial area,¿ Esposito said, ¿and I think the company has achieved quite a bit from its intellectual property portfolio and the development of two core platform technologies that have enabled us to advance three vaccines into clinical trials and a number of others in preclinical development.¿