According to a news source, San Diego-based oncology company MEI Pharma, Inc. is set to raise $27.5 million from commitments to purchase its stock and warrants in a private placement. Investors include Vivo Ventures, New Leaf Venture Partners, RA Capital Management, and Three Arch Opportunity Fund. The securities purchase agreement involves 55 million shares of common stock and warrants to purchase as many as 38.5 million additional common stock shares. Each unit will be sold for $0.50 and consist of one share of common stock and a warrant to purchase 0.7 of a share of common stock. The warrants will be exercisable at $0.52 per share upon the transaction’s closing, which is expected in December 2012; the warrants will expire within five years of issuance.

MEI plans to use the proceeds to advance the clinical development of Pracinostat®, an oral histone deacetylase inhibitor that the company acquired earlier this year and its isoflavone-based drug candidates. The therapy has evidently been tested in more than 150 patients, including those with advanced hematologic malignancies such as myelodysplastic syndrome, acute myeloid leukemia and myelofibrosis. Other drug candidates in the company’s pipeline are ME-143 and ME-344 for use in patients with solid refractory tumors. See PR Newswire, November 5, 2012.