By Lisa Seachrist
A week after disclosing a private placement worth $13 million, Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals Inc. raised an additional $12 million in another private placement.
San Diego-based Hollis-Eden, which specializes in the development of treatments for infectious diseases and immune disorders, sold 648,649 shares of common stock at $18.50 per share to Robert Petersen, of Los Angeles, founder of the Petersen Publishing Company.
"This was a pretty simple, straightforward equity deal," said Hollis-Eden spokesperson Melanie Guy. "The company estimates that their cash on hand will probably last up to three years."
The Petersen investment plus last week's private placement led by San Francisco-based Capital Research and Management Co., leave Hollis-Eden with $52 million cash on hand and 10,467,764 shares of common stock outstanding.
Cash To Push Drug Candidates Into Trials
The cash position will play a vital role for the company, which has several drug candidates on the brink of clinical trials.
With fewer than 20 full-time employees, Hollis-Eden will be looking to expand its staff in order to move several drug candidates from the preclinical arena. The company's lead drug candidate, HE2000, is a cell-energy regulator that interrupts HIV's ability to use the energy supplies in human cells.
Under the direction of the firm's research affiliate, Ireland-based Edenland Inc., HE2000 is in two Phase I/II clinical trials in South Africa. Hollis-Eden has filed an investigational new drug application (IND) to start similar trials in the U.S.
Guy said the company is seeking to amend its IND to include testing with a reformulation of HE2000 for use in hepatitis C, in order to begin early clinical trials in both indications.
The company also has ongoing preclinical work in immune system regulators. HE317 is an up-regulator designed to boost the immune systems of HIV-infected patients. IDPS is a down-regulator being examined as a means to prevent transplant rejection.
Other products, PP29 and PP48, are modified nucleosides that stop DNA/RNA synthesis. The molecules are in preclinical studies that target such infectious agents as cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis and leishmania.
Hollis-Eden's stock (NASDAQ:HEPH) closed Monday at $20.375, up $0.625. n