By Debbie Strickland

With its lead anticancer drug in Phase III trials, Maxim Pharmaceuticals Inc. has completed an international public offering of 2.5 million shares, grossing $38.1 million at a price of $15.25 per share.

The final pricing fell 19 percent short of the registration statement's assumed price of $18.88 per share, which would have generated $47.2 million.

The underwriters — Alfred Berg, Fondkomission A.B., of Stockholm, and Rodman & Renshaw Inc., of Chicago — have an overallotment option of 375,000 shares.

The bulk of the offering was handled internationally, with just 500,000 shares offered in the U.S. In a further move toward multinational status, beginning Friday, Maxim's shares will be listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange (SSE:MAXM), in addition to the American Stock Exchange (AMX:MMP).

The San Diego-based company now has 9.2 million shares outstanding.

In its registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Maxim earmarked 60 to 70 percent of anticipated net proceeds for development of the company's lead product, Maxamine.

Maxamine is a dihydrochloride salt form of histamine designed to be self-administered on an outpatient basis in combination with cytokines such as interleukin-2 and alpha interferon. The drug is believed to enhance synergistically the work of these immune-system boosters and reduce toxicity by allowing use of lower dosages of the cytokines.

In June, Maxim initiated a 200-patient Phase III trial for advanced malignant melanoma. (See BioWorld Today, June 27, 1997, p. 2.)

A separate Phase III trial in the melanoma indication will launch in Sweden and Australia by year end, and a Phase III trial in acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) will begin in early 1998.

In Phase II trials in advanced malignant melanoma, Maxamine doubled mean survival time, compared with currently available therapies.

In AML Phase II trials, the drug boosted mean time in first remission to more than 20 months, vs. 12 months for patients under the current standard of care. For subsequent remissions, Maxamine again averaged 20 months, while the standard-of-care therapy averaged just six.

Earlier-stage clinical trials are testing Maxamine against renal cell carcinoma, hepatitis C and multiple myeloma. Maxim expects to begin clinical trials of Maxamine in other cancers, such as prostate adenocarcinoma, in 1998.

Next in the pipeline is Maxvax, a mucosal vaccine carrier/adjuvant system that uses the B subunit of cholera toxin. Mucosal vaccines could be targeted against sexually transmitted diseases as well as diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system.

The company's business plan calls for collaborations to assist with development of experimental drugs and to market or co-market any products approved by regulatory agencies.

As of June 30, Maxim had $14.3 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments. The company's net loss for the first nine months of its fiscal 1997 year was $4.3 million.

Maxim's stock closed Tuesday at $15.25, down $1.625. *

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