Deerfield Management buys 8% stake in manufacturer of custom hydrogels and wound dressings

Healthcare financier Deerfield Management took an 8% stake in wound care company Alliqua Biomedical, buying 1.875 million shares in response to the company's offering of 6.6 million additional shares on the Nasdaq for $4.55 apiece. Other investors, who weren't required to disclose their position right away, snapped up the remainder of shares, Alliqua said, adding that the underwriters exercised their 30-day option to purchase up to 989,011 additional shares of common stock.

Alliqua says its drug delivery hydrogels are differentiated because of the company's proprietary electron cross-linking process that converts the hydrogels into a solid formulation. Using an electron beam accelerator, the company says it can control the of amount polymer cross linking, obviate the need for chemical cross-linking agents and other impurities, and ensure high quality control.

Over-the-counter medications, skincare ingredients, wound healers and transdermal drug delivery patches all use Alliqua's hydrogel. Their active ingredients are embedded in the gel.

Hydrogel has several properties that make it a common material in all sorts of drug delivery experiments and activities. Those attributes include their hydrophilic (water-loving) nature, porous structure that can be "tuned" by changing the density of the crosslinks, ability to perform sustained release and physical flexibility.

Besides custom manufacturing, Alliqua also sells hydrogel-based wound dressings like the antimicrobial SilverSeal, as well as the Biovance allograft, which is derived from the placenta of a full-term human pregnancy. It was developed in partnership with Celgene ($CELG). The biotech owns 19% of Alliqua, but that was before the latest equity financing, which lasted from April 29 to May 4.

J. Goldman & Co LP and Broadfin Capital LLC also owned more than 7% of the company's shares.

Alliqua said it will use the money raised to fund expansion of its marketed products, add additional product platforms, and for working capital. It share trade around $4.80, down from around $5 when the follow-on financing was announced.

- read the release
- read the SEC filing showing Deerfield's acquisition