By Randall Osborne

Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. raised $15 million in a private placement, including $6.7 million from board members and their affiliated funds.

The company issued 125,000 shares of Series A preferred stock at $120 per share, which automatically will be converted into common stock if the closing bid price on Amylin¿s shares stays above $2.40 per share for 30 days in a row. Dividends on the preferred stock will accrue at 5 percent yearly.

Amylin¿s shares (NASDAQ:AMLN) closed Wednesday at $0.843, up $0.125.

Last fall, the company suffered a setback when two European/Canadian Phase III studies of its lead product, pramlintide (the synthetic analogue of human amylin) for diabetes, failed to show statistical significance. The company¿s shares tumbled 77 percent on the news. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 22, 1998, p. 1.)

Pramlintide is the synthetic analogue of human amylin. Two more Phase III trials of pramlintide ¿ in Type I diabetes patients and Type II, insulin-using diabetics ¿ are ongoing in the U.S.

The financing ¿enables the company to complete the studies, review the data and decide what to do,¿ said Daniel Bradbury, senior vice president of corporate development for San Diego-based Amylin.

Proceeds from the financing will be used to push further development of pramlintide and continue research on AC2993 (the synthetic version of exendin-4, a peptide isolated from the saliva of the Gila monster) for Type II diabetes.

AC2993, comprising 39 amino acids, seems to work similarly to glucagon-like peptide-1 (a mammalian hormone), but for longer duration. In animal models, it stimulates secretion of insulin when blood glucose is elevated, but not when blood glucose is lowered. The peptide also modulates gastric emptying, thus allowing nutrients into the bloodstream more slowly.

Amylin expects to report in the second quarter of 1999 results from a study of AC2993 begun earlier this month.

¿We tend to call it a Phase Ib study,¿ Bradbury said. ¿It¿s in a disease population which many companies would call a Phase II study, but we haven¿t called it that because [we¿re not using] the final formulation¿ of AC2993.

Amylin is seeking partners for both drugs, he said.

¿In the diabetes arena, there aren¿t that many options available, so there¿s been a fair amount of interest,¿ he said.

Based on ¿more conclusive¿ results from the pair of Phase III pramlintide trials in the U.S., Amylin hopes to file a new drug application for pramlintide in mid-2000, Bradbury said.

The company also has licensed from Hoechst Marion Roussel, of Frankfurt, Germany, a class of drugs called lipid-lowering antioxidants, which are in preclinical study for atherosclerosis and prevention of restenosis, Bradbury said.