Neoprobe Corp. completed an $6.8 million public offering Fridayand also secured $3.8 million in loans and grants from the Israeligovernment.
The Dublin, Ohio company postponed an offering of 1.1 millionshares in December, citing unfavorable market conditions and thestock's price. The delay paid off, as 3 million shares of Neoprobewere sold at $2.27 apiece, the average price for the five trading daysbefore Jan. 31.
David Bupp, Neoprobe's president, told BioWorld the company'sstock was trading at about $1.50 per share when the earlier offer waspostponed. "We were not interested in selling stock at that level," hesaid.
Neoprobe stock (NASDAQ:NEOP) closed at $2.63 per share Friday,up 19 cents. The company has 13.9 million shares outstanding (about18.8 million on a fully diluted basis).
Sunrise Securities Corp., of New York, placed the new shares. Newinvestors included: Hathaway and Associates, of Rowayton, Conn.;Biotechnology Fund L.P., of San Francisco; Moore Capital, of NewYork; and Curran Capital Management, of New York. Certainexisting institutional investors and other institutions and individualsalso participated, the company said.
Neoprobe had about $3.5 million in cash and equivalents at the endof 1994, Bupp said, and now should have enough money to last 15 to18 months.
Neoprobe is in late-stage testing of its radioimmunoguided surgery(RIGS) product to detect and characterize colorectal cancer. Buppsaid the company now actively is looking for a marketing anddistribution partner, which also would be an additional source ofrevenue until RIGS is launched. "We expect the first opportunity forsignificant revenues will not occur until the second half of 1996."
Neoprobe has brought RIGS from the development stage to near-registration, and has not given away any rights. "Therefore," Buppsaid, "it is our intention to book the revenues from the RIGSproducts. We feel we have an opportunity to enter into what may bean atypical marketing and distribution arrangement," which couldentail paying the distributor a commission rather than getting paid aroyalty.
The RIGS system for colorectal cancer uses a monoclonal antibodylabeled with Iodine-125. The antibody is injected, and designed toadhere to cancer cells or antigens. During surgery the RIGS gammadetector is used to search for radioactivity in specific tissues,indicating the presence of cancer.
Phase III trials of RIGS are ongoing in the U.S. for primarycolorectal cancer and for metastatic and recurrent colorectal cancer.Bupp said enrollment in the 408-patient trials should be completed bythe end of March. Neoprobe expects to file for a product license inEurope in the third quarter, and in the U.S. in the first quarter of1996.
The Israeli financing, negotiated with the Ministry of Finance and theOffice of the Chief Scientist, will provide up to $3.8 million toNeoprobe's 95 percent-owned subsidiary, Neoprobe (Israel) Ltd. Thefinancing includes a government guaranteed non-recourse loan of$2.5 million, and governmental grants of $1.3 million.
Those funds will be used to construct and operate a radiolabelingfacility and to complete commercialization of RIGS products inEurope and Israel. n
-- Jim Shrine
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