France’s NicOx has revealed that it is looking to raise about 100 million euros in a private placement as it prepares for a potential launch of its investigational osteoarthritis treatment naproxcinod.

Firstly, the Sophia Antipolis-based company NicOx plans to raise 20-30 million euros through the issue of new shares as part of a two-stage capital increase, which will launch a subsequent rights issue, bringing to the total financing up to around 100 million euros. The placement will be backed by the participation of the Fonds Strategique d’Investissement, a French Government fund, which will invest up to 25 million euros.

The FSI was set up recently with the objective of supporting “medium-sized companies that are considered important for the growth and competitive position of the French economy”. NicOx noted.

Chief executive Michele Garufi said the financing will help NicOx in “achieving its goal of becoming a specialty pharmaceutical company, which could participate in the future sales and marketing of naproxcinod via its own commercial infrastructure in the USA”. He added that “thanks to these additional financial resources, NicOx will be able to significantly advance the launch preparations for naproxcinod, including the optimisation of the commercial supply chain”.

NicOx submitted a New Drug Application to the US Food and Drug Administration in September for naproxcinod for the relief of the signs and symptoms of OA. The filing contains data from three Phase III studies which enrolled more than 2,700 patients with OA of the knee and hip, and the firm added that a filing with the European Medicines Agency is expected before the end of 2009.