Marshall Edwards Inc. said Feb. 21 that it will seek to raise $8 million from existing stockholders to further develop its two lead cancer-drug candidates.

“We believe providing existing shareholders the right to purchase shares through a rights offering while maintaining their current level of ownership is an efficient, fair and equitable approach to raising capital at this time,” President and CEO Daniel P. Gold said in a statement.

The San Diego-based pharmaceutical company has yet to announce other details of the offering, including the record date, exercise price, date of distribution of the rights and expiration date.

Of the $8 million in stock that Marshall Edwards plans to sell, the company’s majority shareholder and former parent company Novogen Ltd. of Australia has indicated that it intends to exercise rights for up to $4 million and distribute a portion of its rights to its shareholders.

Marshall Edwards began a phase one clinical trial of its intravenous cancer therapy ME-143 in patients with solid refractory tumors in September and expects final data from the trial by next quarter. The company plans to submit an Investigational New Drug application for its other lead cancer treatment candidate, ME-344, during the first quarter, a spokesman said.

Marshall Edwards trades on Nasdaq under the symbol MSHL. Its shares were down slightly at 90 cents Feb. 21.

— Kelly Quigley