Cell Therapeutics Inc. announced Wednesday that it has raised$13.9 million in a private placement with institutional andaccredited individual investors. The transaction, arranged byAlex. Brown & Sons and D. Blech & Co., brings the company'sworking capital to about $30 million, according to James Bianco,chief executive officer.

Overall, Cell Therapeutics of Seattle has raised about $54.5million (gross) since its inception in 1991, Bianco told BioWorld.This includes the $38.5 million from a private placement in lateNovember 1992, which also was led by Blech and Alex. Brown.Blech provided Cell Therapeutics with its seed capital as well.

The company will use the net proceeds from the offering tosupport its research and clinical trials. It is currentlyconducting multiple clinical studies in the U.S. of its leadcompound, CT-1501R, for reducing the toxicities associatedwith radiation, chemotherapy and interleukin-2 (IL-2) therapyin cancer patients.

CT-1501R is a small molecule lysophosphatidateacyltransferase (LPAAT) inhibitor. CTI scientists haveidentified LPAAT as a key enzyme that controls the productionof a unique species of phosphatidic acid, a lipid signalingintermediate coupled to a variety of cytokines. Thephospholipid signaling pathway, known as the Burstenpathway, is apparently a unique second-messenger pathwaythat responds to noxious and stress-related stimuli, includingchemotherapy and viral and bacterial infection.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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