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Back on Targacept

When Targacept postponed and later pulled its IPO last year, the company had both external and internal factors working against it. Externally, the company was on the road in the first quarter - the dismal one that saw the BioCentury 100 Index fall 14%. Internally, the company was somewhat light on milestones for the year.

Now, the neurology company is back for a second go, last week filing to raise up to $59.8 million through Deutsche Bank; Pacific Growth; CIBC; and Lazard - the same underwriting syndicate from Targacept's first attempt. The difference is that the company now has a big pharma partner for its lead compound, and a string of data events expected this year.

Last month, Targacept partnered its ispronicline (TC-1734) with AstraZeneca (LSE:AZN; AZN). Targacept could receive $300 million in total payments, including $10 million up front and $26 million in research funding over the four-year deal (see BioCentury, Jan. 2).

Targacept is running a Phase II trial of the compound to treat age-associated memory impairment, and data are expected in the first half. In the first half of 2007, the company expects AZN to start separate Phase II trials of ispronicline to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia patients.

This month, Targacept expects interim data from a Phase II trial of its Inversine mecamylamine to treat major depressive disorder. The compound is approved for severe essential hypertension, and is used off label for

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