Rigel raises $130M for PhII trial of asthma drug

Pfizer's decision to cut all allergy and respiratory drug development work came as good news for Rigel Pharmaceuticals, even though it meant the end of the two developers' pact for allergic asthma drug candidate R343. Pfizer bought into Rigel's portfolio of inhaled small molecule syk inhibitors in 2005, and spent the last several years investing the time and money necessary to develop R343 into a mid-stage candidate. Essentially, notes Xconomy, Rigel "basically got handed a big gift from Pfizer."

R343, an inhaled syk inhibitor designed to block the major pathways triggered by asthma, is now Rigel's most advanced in-house project. The company announced yesterday that it was offering 13.3 million shares of stock for $8 each, for gross proceeds of $130.4 million. The funding will support mid-stage development of the drug. Rigel's other pipeline candidate is a Phase III oral rheumatoid arthritis drug called fostamatinib; partner AstraZeneca is closing in on an NDA filing following strong Phase III trial data.

- read the Xconomy write-up