IMRE Corp. said Wednesday it closed on the private placement of1.85 million shares at $1.625 apiece, grossing $3 million for theSeattle company.

A second tranche of 1.65 million shares is expected to close inJanuary, the company said. Allen & Co. Inc., of New York, managedthe offering.

Martin Cleary, IMRE's CEO, told BioWorld the first part of theplacement was sold to private investors. The second tranche isgeared toward institutional investors. "It was important to us to bringsome money into the portfolio by the time the year ended," he said,adding that the company's recent road show for institutionalinvestors wasn't expected to result in investments this month.

The shares were sold at a 25 percent discount to the market price.Those purchasing the stock can't sell it for two years, and don't haveregistration rights. The company's stock (NASDAQ:IMRE) closedunchanged Wednesday at $2.13 per share.

IMRE reported $1.1 million in cash on Sept. 30, and is burning anaverage of about $2 million per quarter, Cleary said. So while thecompany now is low on money, a distribution agreement with BaxterHealthcare Corp. will help in the coming years. Baxter, of Deerfield,Ill., has committed $30 million over the next three years, $3 millionof which it has taken care of, in exchange for distribution rights toIMRE's Prosorba column, Cleary said.

The column, a disposable filter that uses protein A to removecirculating immune complexes from a patient's plasma, is approvedfor the treatment of immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), animmune-related bleeding disorder.

Prosorba is being tested in an initial-effectiveness study on 15rheumatoid arthritis patients, and IMRE has investigational deviceexemptions in kidney transplantation, lupus and multiple sclerosis.

The company plans to start a pilot study in kidney transplantationearly next year, Cleary said, and expand the rheumatoid arthritisprogram later in the year. Prosorba's use in kidney transplantationwould be to remove enough of the human leukocyte antigenantibody to allow those patients to be candidates for transplantation.

`The company has long wanted to begin clinical studies outsideITP," Cleary said. "The cash resources have prevented us from doingit. The Baxter arrangement, along with human clinical data fromrheumatoid arthritis and kidney transplantation companies, willenable us to reach agreements with corporate partners," who wouldhelp fund the studies in exchange for some access to the finalproduct. n

-- Jim Shrine

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