By Debbie Strickland

With its lead product now at Phase III, cardiovascular small-molecule specialist CV Therapeutics Inc. is seeking $15.9 million from the public equity market.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company's offering calls for the sale of 1.7 million shares at an assumed price of $9.375 per share. At that price, the firm would net $14.7 million, with an additional $1.2 million possible through exercise of the underwriters' overallotment option for 255,000 shares.

CV currently has approximately $40 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments, following a net loss of $7.8 million for the nine months ending Sept. 30.

If successful, the proposed offering, combined with existing sources of cash and revenue, will fund operations through the third quarter of 1999, according to the prospectus, and would leave the company with 10.2 million shares outstanding.

Some $12 million of the proceeds will support research and development, including clinical trials for ranolazine, the company's small-molecule angina drug, which entered the first of multiple Phase III trials in October. The company plans this year to launch additional clinical pharmacology, open-label and safety studies of the drug.

Next in the pipeline is the company's only other clinical-stage product, CVT-124, an adenosine A(1) receptor antagonist with potential applications in the treatment of edema associated with congestive heart failure (CHF) and the prevention and treatment of acute renal failure.

Biogen Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., has an exclusive worldwide license for CVT-124 in all indications, under an agreement signed last March that included $16 million up front. The drug is currently in Phase II trials.

In a recently completed Phase II study in moderately severe CHF patients, CVT-124 was well-tolerated and produced clinically useful and statistically significant increases in urine, sodium and chloride excretion compared to placebo, with clinically minimal increases in potassium excretion. (See BioWorld Today, Oct. 31, 1997 p. 2.) *