SAN DIEGO, Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- MEI Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: MEIP), an oncology company focused on the clinical development of novel therapies for cancer, announced today that it has completed its previously announced private placement of common stock and warrants in a financing led by new investors Vivo Ventures and New Leaf Venture Partners. Gross proceeds from the private placement were $27.5 million, before deducting fees and expenses. The Company intends to use the net proceeds primarily to advance the clinical development of its lead drug candidate, Pracinostat, an oral histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120628/LA32362LOGO) "The completion of this financing caps a pivotal year for our company and comes on the heels of exciting data presented last week at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting," said Daniel P. Gold, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of MEI Pharma. "These data from a pilot Phase II trial of Pracinostat in combination with azacitidine in patients with advanced myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) showed that eight of the nine patients treated at the MD Anderson Cancer Center achieved a clinical response (CR, CRi, & PR). Combined with the results from an additional, previously unreported patient treated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who achieved a complete response, the trial showed an overall response rate of 90% (nine out of 10). "Now, with the proceeds from this financing," continued Dr. Gold, "we look forward to further evaluating the combination of Pracinostat and azacitidine in a larger, randomized, placebo-controlled Phase II trial in this high-risk MDS population. We are working diligently to initiate this trial and expect to begin enrolling patients by the second quarter of 2013." The Company also announced that it has effected a 1-for-6 reverse stock split of its common stock, decreasing the number of shares issued and outstanding from approximately 27.2 million immediately prior to the reverse stock split to approximately 13.7 million after giving effect to the reverse stock split and the closing of the private placement.