Alkermes Inc. said Monday that it has raised $46 millionthrough its research and development limited partnership,Alkermes Clinical Partners L.P.

The Cambridge, Mass., company (NASDAQ:ALKS) is the first ofthe IPO class of '91 to raise money through a limitedpartnership. This financing vehicle has been mainly theprovince of the top-tier biotech group, although Repligen March raised $45 million to develop recombinant plateletfactor-4.

ACP was formed to fund the clinical development of receptor-mediated permeabilizers, a class of molecules that in preclinicalstudies has been shown to temporarily increase thepermeability of the blood-brain barrier and allow passage intothe brain of small molecules. Alkermes believes that RMPs actby binding to a cell surface receptor on brain endothelial cells,triggering a brief loosening of the tight junctions between thecells.

ACP's lead product, RMP-7, is in Phase I trials and is beingdeveloped for use in conjunction with therapeutic agents totreat infections of the central nervous system, includingopportunistic infections related to AIDS, and brain tumors.

The offering consisted of 880 units at $50,000 per unit. Eachunit includes one 1992 warrant to purchase 2,800 shares ofAlkermes common stock at $20.03 per share, and one 1995warrant to purchase 300 shares at a 25 percent premium tothe price of Alkermes stock during a specified period in 1995.The stock closed down 63 cents Monday at $14.38.

ACP has contracted with Alkermes to conduct the developmentprogram. The partnership will receive a 12 percent royalty onsales of RMP products in the United States and Canada, as wellas certain other payments. Alkermes has the right to purchasethe interests of the partnership under specified terms.

"Our product is in sufficiently late stages of development tomake it attractive, even though the company is young," saidRichard Pops, president and chief executive at Alkermes. "It'slike doing a $46 million corporate deal without losingownership of the product."

Including ACP, Alkermes has raised $99 million in the pastnine months. The company raised $17.5 million in an initialpublic offering last July and an additional $35 million in asecondary offering last October.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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