Radius Raises $91 Million to Advance Osteoporosis Drug, Makes Strides Towards Public Listing

5/24/11Follow @arleneweintraub

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the current market size to be $7.6 billion. Thus the market is growing rapidly, and because there’s only one other similar anabolic treatment out there—Eli Lilly’s (NYSE: LLY) teriparatide (Forteo)—Radius has a chance to take a significant share of overall sales, Harvey says. Forteo brought in $830 million in sales last year, Harvey says, but many patients had to abandon the drug because of harsh side effects. “Improving compliance is really critical,” he says.

In conjunction with today’s announcement, Radius also said it formed a collaboration with 3M (NYSE: MMM) to develop the transdermal patch version of its drug—which company executives believe could boost patient compliance even more. Lyttle says Radius had experimented with various delivery methods, including inhaled and oral versions, but decided a skin patch was the best option. The company will use 3M’s “microneedle” technology to deliver BA058 through the skin. The patch contains 360 very small needles that deliver a full dose in about 15 minutes, Lyttle says. “If you rubbed it, it would feel like very fine sandpaper,” Lyttle says. “You put it on and then you’re done.” The patch is currently in Phase 1 testing.

When Lyttle spoke to Xconomy in 2008, he projected the market for the injected version of his drug would be about $700 million a year, while a patch could bring in as much as $1.4 billion. He stands by those estimates today. “The subcutaneous product could go even higher, but we believe the transdermal drug will capture a bigger part of the market,” he says.

Lyttle and Harvey hope the BA058 injection will be approved by the end of 2015, and the patch no more than two years after that. Lyttle says Radius will look for a marketing partner for the injection towards the end of the Phase 3 trials. The financing will also help the company advance a treatment for menopausal hot flashes, which is currently in Phase 2 testing.

As for taking on the status of a publicly traded company, Harvey estimates it will take about six months to complete the process. Radius will file a prospectus to trade over the counter, after which it will transfer to the Nasdaq. It’s a roundabout way to go public, but Lyttle says it was preferable to staying private and attempting an initial public offering later. “Investors prefer to invest in a public company,” he says. “And we were able to raise more than the last few IPOs in the field have raised.”

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