LXR Biotechnology Inc. has raised $7.6 million in a privateplacement of common stock at $2 per share and CEO L. DavidTomei said the company anticipates raising at least another $4.3million, a total of $11.9 million in funds earmarked primarily forclinical development.
"We have a good faith estimate from our investment bankers that wecould raise at least another $4.3 million and up to a maximum of $7.4million, Tomei said. "There are commitments to the stock."
LXR develops novel therapeutic agents to treat diseases bycontrolling the process of programmed cell death or apoptosis.Founded in 1992, the company, which is located in Richmond, Calif.,went public in 1994.
LXR's burn rate is approximately $7 million a year, but, Tomei said,it is expected to increase to between $8.5 million and $9 million ayear in that several drugs soon will go into clinical trials and anotherdrug, Lexirin, is completing Phase I/II trials.
Lexirin is being studied for suppression of severe diarrhea associatedwith AIDS and the effects of chemotherapy and radiation in thetreatment of cancer.
Among the drugs verging on trials are Cardiosol, a preservationsolution for use during heart transplantation, Cardioplex, used toprevent damage to the heart and other organs during heart/lungbypass, and Elirex, used to suppress apoptosis in liver transplantationand suppression of acute myocardial infarction following heartattack.
In 1993, Tomei and other researchers at LXR identified a suicidegene that, they said, may play a key role in the death of heart musclecells during a heart attack. The gene, called Bak, for Bcl-1homologous antagonist/killer, also plays a part in promoting celldeath in other clinical situations, such as cardiopulmonary bypasssurgery or heart transplantation.
"Genetically programmed cell death was of great interest to people incancer research," Tomei said, "because cancer cells have some typeof flaw in their ability to commit suicide."
That was a pretty far-fetched idea several years ago," Tomei said,"but now it is fairly well accepted. On the other side of that, we feltback in 1992, there were several diseases where cells died in thebody, such as brain during stroke or heart after a heart attack, thatwere genetically programmed, inappropriate and unnecessary, if wecould find the therapeutic that would temporarily interfere with thatprocess."
"Our goal was to prevent the long-term severe damage that occursduring a stoke or heart attack and also in other situations such asstorage of hearts for transplantation purposes. We began to search forthe drugs that would specifically interfere with this process and webegan to search for the genes that were responsible," he said.
Last January, LXR raised approximately $8.6 million through aprivate placement and the sale of 7,360,000 shares of common stockat a price of $1.25 each.
As of Sept. 30, 1996, LXR had approximately $2.7 million in cashand assets of a little more than $4 million.
LXR's stock (NASDAQ:LXR) closed Friday at $2.625, down$0.125. n
-- Frances Bishopp
(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.