Arena Pharma gains $100M from Deerfield

There's still money to be had. Arena Pharmaceuticals has gained a commitment of $100 million in funding from healthcare investors Deerfield Management. In exchange, the biotech will issue Deerfield 28 million shares of common stock at $5.42 per share. Under the terms of the agreement, Deerfield may also elect to provide the company with up to an additional $20 million.

This comes just over a week after the drugmaker reported positive data from a clinical trial involving lorcaserin; its stock was boosted 25 percent on the success of the BLOOM trial, data from which showed that lorcaserin patients loss an average of 17.9 pounds compared to an average loss of only 7.4 pounds for the placebo group. The company says it will use the funds to advance Phase III trials of the obesity med, prepare its NDA and hunt for partnerships.

But Deerfield says it sees more in the company: "We believe that safety is the single most important variable in the approval and broad usage of drugs for the diverse and growing overweight population. With thousands of patients studied chronically, lorcaserin appears unrivaled in this respect. The value of Arena, however, goes beyond this important drug candidate to the company's niacin receptor program with Merck, its diabetes program with Johnson & Johnson and its ability to discover, develop and partner additional compounds," commented Howard Furst, M.D., Partner, Deerfield Management.

- here's the Arena release

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