Dendreon Plans to Raise Cash for Manufacturing, Marketing

Dendreon is gearing up to raise more cash. The Seattle biotech company disclosed today in its quarterly report that it had $91.2 million in cash and investments on hand on March 31, an amount that “will not be sufficient” to pay all the bills over the next 12 months as it ramps up to market its first commercial drug.

The company is planning to raise money to support the manufacturing, marketing, and information technology infrastructure it will need to commercialize sipuleucel-T (Provenge), according to the company’s quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As we reported earlier today, the company is also going on a hiring binge, looking to add 60 positions to its existing staff of 198, to get the skills it needs to make Provenge a success and to continue the momentum in its R&D pipeline. Dendreon has said it plans to file an amended application with the FDA for approval of Provenge in the fourth quarter.

“While we believe that our current cash on hand is sufficient to initiate our commercialization efforts, we will need to raise additional funds,” the company said in today’s filing.

Dendreon didn’t say how much money it plans to raise, although it has the ability to raise as much as $301 million through registration statements already on file with the SEC, according to the quarterly report.

Whatever financing route the company chooses, it will be seeking funds from a position of relative strength. Its stock (NASDAQ: DNDN) has shot up 10-fold since February, to $21.53 entering today, giving it a market valuation of more than $2 billion. The enthusiasm is fuelled by clinical trial data showing that Provenge was able to help men live a median time of 4.1 months longer with minimal side effects. The drug is expected to be the first in a class of immunotherapies, sometimes called cancer vaccines, which are made to actively stimulate the immune system to fight cancer cells as it would attack a virus.

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