Prizm Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced today that it has raised$15.5 million in an oversubscribed private placement, its firstfinancing since April 1993, when the company raised $6million.

Privately held Prizm of San Diego added several new investorsto its already significant list of institutional stockholders.Biotechvest Inc., Chemical Venture Partners, Forrest Binkley &Brown, Hancock Venture Partners, Sofinnova Inc., Vencap,Venkol Ventures and Ventures Medical joined the company'soriginal investors, which also extended their investments.These venture capital firms include Domain Associates,Biotechnology Investments Ltd., Forward Ventures, OxfordBioScience Partners, Sorrento Associates, Sprout Group andTechno Venture Management.

Prizm had intended to raise $10-15 million, Steven Mendell,the company's president and chief executive officer, toldBioWorld, but demand exceeded the company's expectations."We could have raised $20-25 million, but we didn't want thatmuch dilution," he said. "We raised enough to get us to our nextmilestone." The company currently has about 12 million sharesof stock outstanding.

The financing gives Prizm about $16 million in cash on hand,Mendell said, with a monthly burn rate of $300,000 to$350,000.

The company is preparing its first investigational new drugfiling for submission to FDA some time in 1995, Mendell said.Prizm has identified basic fibroblast growth factor-saporinfusion (bFGF-saporin fusion) as its lead therapeutic candidateand is now in preclinical studies to determine the indication forwhich it will first seek commercialization. The company hascompleted rabbit and rat studies of bFGF-saporin fusion for theprevention of restenosis and is about to begin a study in pigs,Mendell said.

Animal studies also have been conducted to evaluate the agentfor the prevention of secondary cataracts and for theprevention of tumor growth in a variety of cancers. Prizm alsois evaluating the growth factor against psoriasis and Kaposi'ssarcoma through in vitro testing.

Mendell stressed that the company is focusing on selectivelydestroying injured or diseased cells by targeting bFGF-saporinfusion to the growth factor receptors of these cells, whichallows the drug to penetrate the cell membrane.

-- Karl A. Thiel Business Editor

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