VIENNA Austrian biotech group Intercell has signed a financing deal with Switzerland's BB Biotech and is in talks with other investors about a private stock placement that could total 20 million euros, it said.
The investment, through a wholly owned subsidiary of BB Biotech AG, consists of a 20 million euro ($26.1 million) secured loan and a commitment to invest 5 million euros as part of a proposed private share placement, Intercell said.
"Intercell is in discussions with specialized healthcare investors regarding proposals for additional investment of 10.0 (million) to 15.0 million euros as part of the private placement," it added in a statement late on Monday.
"The BB Biotech investment and the private placement, which should close before the end of May, are expected to secure Intercell's funding needs into financial self-sustainability."
Intercell is trying to get back on track after a string of product setbacks sparked worries about its pipeline prospects.
It has said it was looking for an investor to shore up its capital position and to act as a stable core shareholder. Swiss drugmaker Novartis has a stake of around 15 percent.
Intercell, Europe's last independent vaccine maker, had 38.5 million euros in cash at the end of the first quarter, in which its net loss narrowed 28 percent to 8.1 million euros, slightly lagging market expectations.
The secured six-year loan carries a variable interest rate. Intercell will pay BB Biotech royalties on sales revenues from its Ixiaro product, a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis.
The 5 million euro equity investment will see BB Biotech subscribe for nearly 2 million Intercell shares for about 2.55 euros per share as part of the private placement.
Existing shareholders will not get subscription rights for the placement, Intercell added.
($1 = 0.7663 euros)
(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Matt Driskill and Helen Massy-Beresford)