LONDON Antisoma plc said last week that is has completed its placing and admission to the pan European Exchange, EASDAQ, raising £10 million (US$16.8 million) net of expenses. This values the London-based company at £25 million.

CEO Glyn Edwards called the financing "a very successful placing in what have been difficult market conditions." The money will enable Antisoma, which is focused on the development of tumor-targeting products for the treatment of cancer, to complete its Phase III trial of Theragyn for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

It was also announced that Antisoma has agreed a licensing deal with the gene therapy company Transgene, of Strasbourg, France, for Antisoma's technology enabling the targeting of adenoviral vectors to specific cells. Antisoma will receive an up-front payment and milestone payments, in addition to a licensing fee for each peptide licensed, and royalties on sales of products. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Antisoma patent describes a modified adenovirus in which part of the virus has been replaced with an antibody or a peptide, which binds to a specific receptor on, for example, a cancer cell. Thus, the virus only infects cancer cells.

"Antisoma is developing a number of product candidates for the treatment of cancer, but is not currently focused on gene therapy," Edwards said. "Therefore, this patent is not core to our intellectual property portfolio." *