By Randall Osborne

With plans to advance daptomycin, an antibiotic with activity against all Gram-positive bacteria, Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. has generated more than $13.7 million in a private placement.

"We have several different indications planned; not all of them initially will be Phase III [trials]," said Andy Knapp, project director for Cambridge, Mass.-based Cubist's daptomycin program. "The first Phase III trial we'll get to is [in] complicated skin and soft-tissue infections: wound infections, burns, not the simple things where you would get outpatient treatment."

To finance the trials, expected to begin at the end of this year or early next year, Cubist will issue about 6.1 million common shares at $2.25 per share, along with warrants exercisable for about 3 million more shares at the same price.

Phase II trials also are expected to begin shortly, testing daptomycin in blood infections and complicated urinary tract infections, Knapp said.

Funds from the financing also will be used to advance Cubist's VITA technology, a system of genomic target validation and assay development.

Thomas Shea, director of finance and administration, noted Cubist's collaborations with Merck & Co., of Whitehouse Station, N.J., and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of New York, for discovery and development of anti-infectives.

Shea said Cubist expects to see "some milestones toward compounds in both of those alliances" late this year or early next year. The deal with Merck began in 1996, and was widened in May. (See BioWorld Today, May 8, 1998, p. 1.)

Cubist's stock (NASDAQ:CBST) closed Monday at $2.406, up $0.281. *