Inhibitex, an Atlanta-based developer of new drugs to treat bacterial and fungal infections, said Monday that it closed $41.4 million of an expected $45.4 million series D financing.
In other biotech and life science related news Monday:
United Therapeutics received a so-called approvable letter from the FDA for its new Remoudlin Injection drug for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
A.M. Pappas expanded its board of advisors and scientific advisory board.
In Atlanta, New Enterprise Associates of Menlo Park, Calif., and Essex Woodlands Heath Ventures co-led the round with a $20 million investment. Other investors include Alliance Technology Ventures, CDP Sofinov, William Blair Capital Partners and Pacific Horizon Partners. The company has raised a total of $65 million.
Inhibitex said the influx of cash will fund Phase I/II human clinical trials of its lead drug candidate, Veronate. Veronate is an antibody used to prevent staph infections in low birth weight infants.
Inhibitex CEO and President William Johnston, Ph.D., said the funds are expected to last through late stage (Phase III) clinical trials.
Michael A. Henos, managing general partner of Alliance Technology Ventures and chairman of Inhibitex said, “It is very rewarding for the company to have completed this round of financing given the challenges of today’s private and public equity markets.
Henos said that in addition to funding the Veronate trials, the proceeds would also help advance the company’s development of other products for the prevention and treatment of infections.
The company is developing a pipeline of these products based on its proprietary technology platform. This technology utilizes specific antibodies that inhibit the biologic activity of a family of surface proteins present on a number of pathogenic (infectious) organisms. Inhibitex has several products in clinical and pre-clinical development based on this platform.
Good news for United
United Therapeutics (NASDAQ: UTHR) soared more than 15 percent today on news that the company had received the FDA letter. The company said such a letter is normally the last step before a drug receives FDA approval for funding in the U.S.
The FDA will require a post-marketing controlled clinical trial of the drug, United added.
United is based in Maryland, but its clinical development center is located in Research Triangle Park.
Pappas strengthens West Coast team
Ford Worthy, vice president at AM Pappas, said the RTP-based venture capital firm added Robert Curry, Ph.D., to its board of advisors “to further strengthen our base on the West Coast, particularly from a venture capital and deal flow perspective.” Curry is a venture partner at Sprout Group and has a long career in biotech and management.
Wayne Alexander, Ph.D., will chair the scientific advisory board at Pappas. He replaces Charles Sanders, former head of Glaxo. Alexander is head of Emory University’s School of Medicine.
“Charlie remains as a key contributor on our main board,” Worthy said. “Like Charlie, Wayne has a strong background in cardiology, which is one of several key areas for us. So Wayne’s addition also represents an expansion for us.”
David Savello, Ph.D., who is a member of the main board, also was named to the scientific board, Worthy added. Savello, a former GlaxoWellcom exec, is currently senior vice president and chief science officer of Cardinal Health.