By Mary Welch

Dendreon Corp., which recently started a Phase III trial for its cancer vaccine therapy, filed an initial public offering (IPO), intending to raise $100 million.

The Seattle-based company will use the proceeds to further develop its therapeutic vaccine products as well as to increase its dendritic cell processing and antigen manufacturing capacity.

The company did not disclose how many shares would be offered or at what price. It also did not disclose the number of any overallotment shares that will be offered to the underwriters. As of March 1, the company had 14.3 million shares outstanding.

Prudential Securities Inc., of New York, is lead underwriter, along with New York-based SG Cowen Securities Inc., and Pacific Growth Equities Inc., of San Francisco.

Concurrent to the IPO, Dendreon¿s partner, Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, will purchase an undisclosed number of shares in a private placement for $5 million.

Founded in 1992, Dendreon is focused on the development of cell-based therapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious disease. It has developed a platform for the isolation and activation of peripheral blood dendritic cells that allows the production of therapeutic agents. Central to its approach is the use of dendritic cells, which are the only cells shown to initiate the production of ¿killer¿ T cells ¿ a process essential for the elimination of tumors and virally infected cells, the company said.

In January, it started a Phase III trial for Provenge (formerly APC8015), an antigen-loaded dendritic cell therapy, in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. A second Phase III trial should start next month. (See BioWorld Today, Jan. 27, 2000, p. 1.)

The company is also conducting Phase II trials of APC8020, a vaccine for B-cell malignancies, including multiple myeloma and amyloidosis.

Three other vaccines are in preclinical development for the treatment of various diseases, including breast, colorectal, lung, and ovarian/uterine cancers. The company also intends to apply its technologies to the areas of autoimmune disease, allergies and infectious diseases.

Dendreon¿s products are unpartnered in the United States. However, Kirin is the company¿s collaborator in Asia.

The company owns and operates cell-processing centers in Mountain View, Calif., and Seattle. It expects to open another dendritic cell-processing center in the second quarter in conjunction with the American Red Cross in Philadelphia.

The company reported 1999 year-end revenues of $3.5 million, with a net loss of $12.7 million, or $1.20 per share. As of Dec. 31, the company had $13.8 million in cash.

Among its largest shareholders are HealthCare Ventures LLC, of Princeton, N.J.; Vulcan Ventures Inc., of Bellevue, Wash.; Sanderling Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif.; and Kummell Investments Ltd., of Gibraltar.

Its proposed Nasdaq symbol is DNDN