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Antigenics Files $100 Million Mixed Shelf: BioBuzz

LEXINGTON, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Antigenics (AGEN - Get Report) could seek to raise up to $100 million by selling a mix of stock and debt, according to a new shelf registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday.

Antigenics has been relatively quiet since last November when European regulators turned down the company's application seeking approval of its kidney cancer vaccine Oncophage.

Oncophage was approved in Russia in April 2008, but Antigenics has not been able to sell the drug there because it hasn't yet negotiated reimbursement with the Russian government.

Antigenics sought Oncophage's approval in Europe on the basis of a failed phase III study. For that reason, the company can't file for approval in the U.S.

In a recent interview, Antigenics' CEO Garo Armen said drug regulators in the U.S. and Europe were "too rigid" to approve Oncophage.

As of Sept. 30, 2009, Antigenics had cash totaling $34 million, which the company said was sufficient to last into 2011. Antigenics has not yet reported fourth-quarter results, but the company was expected to burn $25 million in cash in 2009.

The new $100 million shelf filed by Antigenics has not yet been declared effective by the SEC. The company didn't specify how much stock and/or debt it intends to sell, or when.

Antigenics shares were down 8% to 74 cents in recent Monday trading.

Poniard's Cancer Drug Safe but Less Effective

(At 6:14 AM EST)

Update: Poniard shares are down 23% to $1.99 in recent Monday trading.

Poniard Pharmaceuticals (PARD) said Sunday that its experimental chemotherapy drug picoplatin reduced the severity of nerve damage in patients undergoing treatment for colon cancer, meeting the primary goal of a phase II study.

And with that, Poniard shares should trade down Monday. I don't know what the stock will actually end up doing, but Poniard shares jumped 22% to $2.61 on extra heavy volume Friday as investors anticipated the picoplatin data.

That screams "sell on the news" to me, especially since nearly all of the data from this phase II study were disclosed online last Wednesday, Jan. 20. That left little to be surprised about Sunday for Poniard to disclose.

Picoplatin is a next-generation platinum chemotherapy drug designed to overcome resistance to prior platinum therapy and cause less neuropathy, or nerve toxicity.

Last November, however, picoplatin failed a phase III study in small cell lung cancer that was seen as the fastest and best way for the drug to reach the market. Poniard's stock price plunged on the negative results.

Sunday's positive safety data in colon cancer -- announced at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's (ASCO) meeting on gastrointestinal cancers -- may give picoplatin a new life (Poniard executives certainly believe so) but the drug's better side effect profile appears to be coming at the expense of efficacy.

Poniard downplayed efficacy results in Sunday's announcement because patients treated with oxaliplatin, the approved chemotherapy drug used as a comparator the study, reported more tumor shrinkage and lived longer than those treated with picoplatin.
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