Follow the money

It's no secret that financing rounds - either public or private - on average are larger in the U.S. than elsewhere. Last week saw two ex-U.S. companies move to tap into the capital available in the States. On the private side, Australia's Xenome wants to close a mezzanine round that's large enough to get its lead compound into Phase II testing and earlier-stage compounds to an IND. On the public front, Phytopharm (LSE:PYM) has set about getting a NASDAQ listing in order to access U.S. specialist investors.

Xenomehas raised about AUS$14 million (US$10 million) since it was launched in March 2000. But with a compound in Phase I trials for chronic neuropathic pain and multiple preclinical pain programs, the company is looking for at least AUS$20-AUS$25 million (US$14.3-US$17.9 million) in its next round. To do so, the company is coming to the U.S. Indeed, Xenome announced last week that Tony Evans is stepping down from the top post and that the new CEO likely will be based in the U.S.

Roger Drinkwater, co-founder and head of research, told Ebb & Flow that "one of the limitations in Australia is mezzanine rounds. We need a larger sum, and it's very difficult to do that here without becoming a public entity. A lot of the funds have been put together at AUS$20-AUS$40 million, and they want to put this into five or six companies."

Drinkwater said $14-$18 million could get lead compound Xen2174 into Phase II trials and get two other compounds to an IND filing. Xen2174 was derived from coneshell venom. It selectively inhibits norepinephrine transporter, a target that's located on nerve

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