Interneuron Pharmaceuticals Inc. netted $14.7 million ina private placement completed three days before thecompany's lead product candidate is going before anFDA advisory committee.

The Lexington, Mass., company sold about 1.4 millionshares at about $11.09 apiece, which was a 16 percentdiscount to the stock's price at the time the placementwas priced. Interneuron released details of the placementlate Monday. Its stock (NASDAQ:IPIC), which wasdown 69 cents Monday, closed up 6 cents Tuesday at$14.75.

On Thursday Interneuron is scheduled to present its casebefore an advisory committee for its obesity drug,dexfenfluramine _ a selective serotonin reuptakeinhibitor _ which already is being sold in more than 60countries. Last February the FDA sent Interneuron a non-approvable letter for the drug because of concerns aboutprimary pulmonary hypertension and neurotoxicity.

William Boni, Interneuron's vice president for corporatecommunications, said the company addressed safety andefficacy issues in its final communication with the FDA.

Interneuron began negotiations for the latest financingbefore the FDA advisory panel meeting was scheduled,Boni said, so it was coincidental that the self-managedfinancing closed so near the meeting date.

"We had an expression of interest by a number ofinstitutions and settled on those deals that made the mostsense and offered the best deals for us," Boni said of theprivate placement. "It was a very direct way of raisingmoney."

Following the financing, Interneuron has about $34million in cash and 33.3 million shares outstanding. Bonisaid that by factoring in $11 million in outstandingwarrants, the company should have about two years ofcash.

Four unnamed institutional investors participated in thefinancing. Gross proceeds were about $15.3 million, Bonisaid.

Interneuron and its three majority-owned subsidiariespreviously had raised $19.6 million this year throughprivate placements. In addition, one of the subsidiaries,Progenitor Inc., of Columbus, Ohio, signed two deals in1995, each of which potentially is worth $50 million. Thecompany, which focuses on gene therapy vectors andstem cell therapeutics, has deals with Chiron Corp., ofEmeryville, Calif., and ZymoGenetics Inc., a subsidiaryof Denmark-based Novo Nordisk A/S.

Another subsidiary, Intercardia Inc., of Research TrianglePark, N.C., is in a Phase III trial of bucindolol forcongestive heart failure. Interneuron is in Phase III withciticoline for stroke. And, Boni said, Interneuron isformulating a commercialization strategy for melatonin asa dietary supplement. Clinical trials will not be needed,he said.

Trancell Technologies Inc., of Princeton, N.J., is the thirdmajority-owned subsidiary. It focuses on drug-deliverytechnologies. n

-- Jim Shrine

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.