Hybridon Inc., a privately held antisense technology company,announced Thursday that it has garnered $65 million in privatestock placements and strategic collaborations since thebeginning of 1993.

The most recent capital infusion -- about $20 million -- camefrom two private placements of convertible preferred stock. Inaddition, Hoffmann-La Roche has taken a $4 million equityposition in the Worcester, Mass., company, per the terms of thestrategic alliance reached between the two companies in earlyFebruary.

The recent $20 million infusion came from the placement oftwo series of convertible preferred stock, each consisting ofapproximately 1.75 million shares. Series D, which was pricedat $5.50 per share, was completed at the end of January, andseries E, priced at $7.25 a share, was completed March 31,explained E. Andrews Grinstead, Hybridon's chief executiveofficer.

Participating in the offerings were existing investors as well asnew institutional and private investors. These include SpearsBenzak Salomon & Farrell, Tiger Management, First Manhattan,the Government of Singapore, Suez Ventures, Pallis Finance,Finovelec, Faisal Finance and Vector Management, Grinsteadtold BioWorld.

Hybridon intends to use the net proceeds from the offering tofund Phase Ia/b clinical trials on GEM 91, an antisensecompound for treating HIV infection and AIDS. The companyfiled an investigational new drug (IND) application with FDAfor GEM 91 in the fourth quarter of 1992, and is planning toconduct human clinical trials in France, as well. In fact,Grinstead told BioWorld that trials in both the U.S. and Franceare "imminent."

Hybridon's multiyear R&D collaboration and licensingagreement with Hoffmann-La Roche and F. Hoffmann-La RocheAG concerns the development of antisense oligonucleotidecompounds for treating hepatitis B and C viruses and humanpapilloma virus. Roche is slated to fund the R&D and makemilestone payments to Hybridon. In return, Roche gets aroyalty-bearing worldwide exclusive license to any resultingproducts, while Hybridon retains the manufacturing rights.

Hybridon has just entered into a similar partnership with amultinational pharmaceutical company, and anticipates thevalue of the two will exceed $50 million.

Hybridon has been in registration with the Securities andExchange Commission for an initial public offering since March1992, and still plans to enter the public market "at some pointin time," when the climate is more hospitable, Grinstead toldBioWorld. But in the meantime, "the company is making thekind of progress (in product development) that allows us to goto different capital markets. ... We want to keep enough capitalresources in the company that we're not forced into a hostilewindow."

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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

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