By Mary Welch

In its third financial deal of the year, Connetics Corp. raised $12.6 million in a self-managed private placement of 3.4 million shares of unregistered common stock.

Depending on product revenues, the new funding "could last us quite a long time," said John Higgins, chief financial officer of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Connetics, which has $22 million in cash after the financing.

The placement will help bolster the launch of Luxiq (betamethasone), Connetics' mid-potency mousse-formulation steroid designed for moderate cases of psoriasis. The company filed for FDA approval in February 1998 and expects the foam treatment to be on the market in early 1999. (See BioWorld Today, April 15, 1998, p. 1.)

"This funding also helped support the Phase III trial of Olux, and we just released promising results from its trial," Higgins said. "Of course, it also will go to support an expanded sales force, as well as other products in the company's pipeline."

Olux is the company's second foam treatment for scalp psoriasis, which cleared a Phase III study this month. Results from the 188-patient study showed that patients given Olux twice a day for 14 days improved over the placebo group in the endpoints of erythema, plaque thickness and scaling. Olux (clobetasol propinate) is intended for severe psoriasis and other scalp dermatoses. The company expects to file a new drug application by the middle of next year. (See BioWorld Today, Nov. 12, 1998, p. 1.)

In April, Connetics doubled its cash position, raising $10 million through a self-managed placement of 2.16 million shares with Alta BioPharma Partners LLC, of San Francisco. Also in April, Connetics signed a $14 million deal with Suntory Ltd., of Osaka, Japan, to develop and sell ConXn (recombinant human relaxin-H2) for scleroderma in Japan. ConXn is scheduled to begin pivotal trials in the U.S. in the first quarter of 1999 and afterwards in Japan, Higgins said. (See BioWorld Today, April 27, 1998, p. 1.)

The company's stock (NASDAQ:CNCT) closed Monday at $4, unchanged. n