Swiss firm Basilea, which has three drugs in late-stage trials, has unveiled a share offering that could help the firm raise over $240 million.

No stock is being offered publicly outside of Switzerland, but a Basilea spokesperson confirmed to PharmaTimes World News that the firm will offer up to 1.15 million new shares at one new share for each five held, which would be worth around 297 million Swiss francs (or some $244 million), based on the company’s closing price on March 8. There is an option to increase the offering to 1.495 million new shares and the rights cannot be traded and will lapse if not exercised. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and UBS are joint global coordinators and bookrunners.

Basilea intends to use the proceeds from the offering to set up its own sales and marketing force to commercialise its Phase III compounds, led by ceftobiprole, its cephalosporin antibiotic against the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which could be launched in the USA this year. Johnson & Johnson affiliate Cilag is a co-promotion partner for the drug.

The funds will also be used to promote alitretinoin, a synthetic retinoid drug for patients with severe dermatitis of the hand who do not respond to topical corticosteroid treatment which was the subject of positive Phase III data at the beginning of the month. The money raised in the offering will also fund late-stage trials of Basilea's broad-spectrum antifungal treatment isavuconazole.

This commitment to setting up its own specialised field force with the significant sums being raised has led the market to believe that Basilea is unlikely to be open to a takeover, rumours of which had recently pushed the stock up.