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Ebb & Flow

Xoma (XOMA) managed to more than double its cash via last week's licensing deal with Pfizer (PFE). Investors welcomed the news, boosting the shares $0.47 (20%) to $2.77 and a market cap of $365 million.

At June 30, XOMA had $24 million in cash. The PFE deal, under which the pharma received a non-exclusive worldwide license to use XOMA's bacterial cell expression (BCE) technology for phage display and other research, development and manufacturing of antibody products for undisclosed indications, will put another $30 million in the biotech's coffers.

XOMA also is eligible for milestones, royalties and other fees on future sales of all products subject to the license.

On the heels of the cash infusion, XOMA expects to provide financial and pipeline guidance in about a month, CEO Steven Engle, who came on board in early August, told Ebb & Flow.

The BCE technology is licensed to more than 45 companies. XOMA had royalty, licensing and contract manufacturing revenue totaling $26.4 million in 1H07, more than twice its revenue of $13.1 million in 1H06.

The company's pipeline now will become more of a priority, Engle said. "The company has been building a revenue stream - let's take that and move forward with the pipeline," he said.

On the company's 2Q call last month, Engle said XOMA could have as many as four product candidates by the end of 2007. These could include XOMA 052, in Phase I testing to treat Type II diabetes; XOMA 629, a topical synthetic peptide derived from bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI) in preclinical development to treat acne and other skin infections; and Neuprex opebacan recombinant BPI.

Engle said XOMA 052, a monoclonal antibody targeting interleukin-1 (IL-1) beta, will be a key beneficiary of the influx of cash. The company hopes the compound could be used to treat a range of autoimmune and inflammatory

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