Protherics of the UK had a busy time yesterday, announcing financing,

an acquisition, a couple of licensing agreements, a pretax loss and an

in-licensing deal.

The firm is offering of 58.7 million new shares at 65 pence each to raise around £38 million, which it plans to use to finance the three deals designed to expand its development pipeline in its core franchises of critical care and cancer.

Firstly, Protherics will acquire the USA’s MacroMed in an all-share deal valued at $25 million, which will give it access to the latter’s OncoGel, a

formulation of paclitaxel for oesophageal and brain cancers.

Next up is an agreement to in-license intellectual property from Glenveigh

Pharmaceuticals for the use of ovine polyclonal antibody fragments for the

treatment of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, a life-threatening complication of pregnancy. Protherics added that there are currently no approved therapies for pre-eclampsia, which it believes is a potential $5 billion market.

The third agreement is a licensing and development deal with Advancell of Spain for acadesine, a potential new treatment for B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Chief executive Andrew Heath said the transactions will add “a second potential blockbuster to our critical care pipeline, alongside CytoFab (polyclonal ovine anti-TNF antibody fragments), and double the size of our cancer portfolio in indications where we can leverage the sales and marketing infrastructure being established for Voraxaze (carboxypeptidase G2).”

However the latter drug has given Protherics some problems of late. It was

forced to withdraw a marketing application in the USA for Voraxaze, a drug

to treat side effects caused by cancer chemotherapy, after the Food and

Drug Administration asked for more information on manufacturing.

And CytoFab, for sepsis, has also had its problems; Protheric’s partner AstraZeneca announced at the beginning of November that it will be conducting additional trials before submitting the treatment for regulatory approval.

R&D spend shoots up

Finally, Protherics posted a 5.6% rise in revenues to £11.3 million for

the six months to September 30, though pretax losses grew 27% to £4.7

million, due to a rise in R&D spending to £7.1 million, up from £2.4

million. The company ended the reporting period with £17.9 million in