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Agenus Inc. (AGEN - Snapshot Report) completed a direct registered offering of 3.33 million shares of its common stock. The company raised approximately $10 million by offering the shares at $3 per share. The shares were issued along with warrants carrying an option to purchase an additional 1 million shares of common stock at a price of $3.75 per share. Warrants can be exercised within 6 months from the date of issuance and carry an expiry period of 5 years from the date of exercise.

Agenus intends to use the funds for the development of its pipeline, acquiring new technologies and general corporate purposes.

Agenus is dedicated to develop technologies and products for the treatment of cancers and infectious diseases. The company’s core technologies include the Saponin Platform and the Heat Shock Protein (HSP) Platform. Agenus’ key candidates, which are based on these technologies, include QS-21 Stimulon, HerpV, and the Prophage Series vaccines.

We note that the company is actively advancing its pipeline. In Sep 2013, Agenus announced positive results from a phase II study on HSPPC-96 in combination with the current standard of care in newly diagnosed glioblastomamultiforme (GBM) patients.

Results from the study revealed that patients treated with the combination therapy showed a significant increase in progression free survival (PFS) in comparison to patients treated with current standard of care alone. Moreover, the median overall survival (OS) rate, the primary objective of the study, was 23.3 months in patients treated with the HSPPC-96 combination in comparison to 14.6 months in patients under the current standard of care alone.

Following the positive results, Agenus plans to hold an end of phase II meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to discuss the initiation of a phase III study on the HSPPC-96 vaccine in patients with newly diagnosed GBM.

Agenus carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Companies that currently look well-positioned include Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Jazz Pharmaceuticals Public Limited Company (JAZZ - Analyst Report) and Cempra, Inc. (CEMP - Snapshot Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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