04:17 PM 01/11/11
INTERVIEW-Keryx CEO sees no need to raise capital
* Phase 3 data expected in 2012
* No plans for dilutive offering
By Deena Beasley
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc expects to use its existing cash and upcoming milestone payments to fund operations as it awaits key clinical trial data in 2012.
Keryx expects pivotal trial results for two compounds -- cancer drug perifisone and Zerenex, which is being developed to lower abnormally high levels of phosphate in the blood of patients with advanced kidney disease.
The company registered earlier this month to sell up to $100 million of common stock and warrants.
"We have no plans to raise capital ... we put up a shelf registration, but that is purely for flexibility," Chief Executive Ron Bentsur told Reuters ahead of the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference that began here on Monday,
He said the company's cash -- $34 million at the end of the third quarter -- along with "non-dilutive capital that we expect to come in in the next six months or so" will be sufficient to fund operations.
Bentsur said Keryx expects to receive a milestone payment from its partner for Zerenex in Japan as well as funding from a small number of exercised options.
The company said in November that a late-stage trial of Zerenex met its goals in treating a phosphate imbalance in kidney dialysis patients.
A long-term safety study of the drug is ongoing, with results expected in the first half of 2012, the CEO said.
Zerenex, which would compete with Genzyme Corp's $700 million Renagel, is an iron-based phosphate binder that could also lower the need for dialysis patients to be treated with expensive anemia drugs like Amgen Inc's Epogen, according to Bentsur.
He said Keryx is seeking a partner to market the compound, but is not ruling out having its own salesforce.
A study of perifisone in patients with advanced colorectal cancer who have stopped responding to other drugs is expected to conclude late this year. "We could have this drug approved sometime in 2012," Bentsur said.
When the drug is successful in treating metastatic colorectal cancer, "a lot of options open up," the CEO said.
Wow, some short just actually made a blatant lie that dilution was announced. Doesn't he realize that encourages heaving buying when in fact longs learn that he risked going to jail out of desperation and cannot cover?
Sentiment: Strong Buy