In a whirlwind of a business day Tuesday, Viamet Pharmaceuticals rebooted, refinanced, and reorganized.

Viamet Pharma scrapped its plans for a $75 million IPO that the company disclosed in July.

Instead, the Triangle-based company, which is developing fungal treatments, raised $60 million in new capital.

At the same time Viamet named former GlaxoWellcome CEO Bob Ingram as its chairman and spun off a new venture focused on prostate cancer.

The new series D round of funding was led by new investors Brandon Point Industries and Woodford Investment Management. Previous backers of Viamet include Novartis Venture Fund, Lilly Ventures, Hatteras Venture Partners (where Ingram now works), Intersouth Partners, Lurie Holdings and Astellas Venture Management.

In addition to Ingram taking over as chair, Kelly Martin and Adrian Howd of Brandon Point join the board.

Martin is a former CEO of Elan Corporation.

Additionally, Viamet said it will create a new venture owned by investors to be called Innocrin Pharmaceuticals. The new firm will be led by Viamet Chief Science Officer William Moore. Innocrin will focus on a prostate cancer treatment that currently is in Phase 2 clinical trials. 

Viamet said in a statement that it expects the influx of new capital will “fund operations through the achievement of several important clinical milestones over the next number of years.”

“Viamet is engaged in an area of important unmet medical need – the discovery of novel agents to treat fungal infections, which are an increasingly problematic concern to the medical community, and include a broad range of indications,” Ingram said in a statement.

“Viamet is one of the few companies squarely focused on this large commercial opportunity with a novel technology platform and a proven ability to generate multiple clinical candidates spanning a range of antifungal indications.”

The Back Story

Viamet’s lead drug candidate is VT-1161, a pill that the company is developing to treat several fungal infections. The company is currently in phase 2a clinical trials studying the antifungal as a potential treatment for vaginal yeast infection. The company is also studying the compound in patients with athlete’s foot. A Campbell Alliance study commissioned by Viamet found that branded antifungal sales reached $3.5 billion in 2013. Viamet believes its product candidates can grab a share of that market.

“While multiple prescription and over-the-counter antifungal agents are available in the United States, we believe a significant opportunity exists to improve upon current treatments,” Viamet said in its IPO filing. “With respect to safety and tolerability, current agents are limited by potential liver toxicity, drug-drug interactions, endocrine toxicity and pregnancy warnings. With respect to efficacy, current agents are limited by poor initial response rates and high relapse rates. In addition, there is increasing incidence of fungal strains that are resistant to currently available antifungal drugs and for which new antifungal treatments are required.”

Funds from the IPO are intended to support the start of phase 2b studies of VT-1161 in patients with recurrent vulvovaginal candidosis, a vaginal infection that has no approved treatments in the United States. Viamet also plans to study VT-1161 as a treatment for onychomycosis, a common fungal infection of the toenail. Those trials are expected to begin in the second half of 2014, according to the filing.

Viamet also plans to seek Food and Drug Administration approval to start clinical trials on another compound, VT-1129, as a treatment for cryptococcal meningitis, a life-threatening fungal infection of the lining of the brain and the spinal cord. An investigational new drug application could be filed with the FDA in the first half of next year. Viamet has already sought orphan drug designation on the product, a special status for drug candidates that gives tax breaks and marketing exclusivity for treatments of rare diseases.

A third antifungal compound, VT-1598, is still in preclinical development.

Viamet’s proprietary technology identifies enzymes that contain metal, such as iron, zinc or copper. These “metalloenzymes” catalyze a wide range of biochemical reactions. The company designs drugs that target these enzymes. Viamet expects its drugs will offer greater selectivity, fewer side effects and improved potency compared to currently available antifungals. 

Viamet reported a net loss of $11.1 million for 2013 and a loss of $7.2 million for the first quarter of 2014. Research and development spending was $10.7 million in 2013; $4.7 million for the first quarter. Although Viamet does not yet have any FDA-approved products, the company does have some revenue, primarily from license fees and collaborations with Dow AgroSciences and Novartis Bioventures. Viamet revenue in 2013 totaled $2.8 million. The company currently had $7.3 million in cash and cash equivalents as of March 31, according to the filing.

Stockholders in Viamet who own stakes greater than 5 percent at the time of the IPO filing were: Novartis Bioventures with a 25.1 percent share; Lilly Ventures Fund with 21.9 percent; entities affiliated with Durham venture capital firm Hatteras Venture Partners with 15.0 percent; Durham venture capital firm Intersouth Partners with 12.1 percent; and A&B Equity Holdings with 10.0 percent.