MORRISVILLE – Pharmaceutical development firm Novan is bolstering both its finances and executive team with moves announced this week.

On Thursday, Novan said that Aspire Capital Fund, an institutional investor based in Chicago, is buying up to $25 million in stock.

Novan shares vaulted 14 percent Thursday to $2.50.


Novan also named a new vice president for project management to help coordinate drug development efforts.

“This agreement with Aspire Capital provides Novan with an additional financing tool in the toolbox to both complement non-dilutive capital and allow us to fund specific business platform initiatives,” said Kelly Martin, Novan’s CEO, in a statement.

“The benefit of the Agreement is two-fold; it brings in a fundamentally-focused, long-term institutional investor, and as a micro-cap company, allows us to efficiently and opportunistically draw down capital over the next 30 months in a way that will help minimize our overall cost of capital and potential dilution.”

Aspire Capital sees considerable potential in Novan, said its managing member Steven Martin.

“Novan has, first and foremost, the potential to build-out a unique nitric oxide technology platform that could have clinical applications in any number of therapeutic areas,” he said in a statement.

“With compelling clinical data from over 3,000 patients in-hand and several late stage assets, we have a high degree of enthusiasm in reaching this agreement with the company.”

Novan noted that the stock deal and other moves are designed to strengthen the company.

“The agreement with Aspire is additive to the structural advancements made over the last ten months, which includes the expansion of our Japan dermatology partnership with Sato Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., a royalty agreement for SB206 as a treatment for molluscum contagiosum with Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated, and an asset finance transaction around SB206, SB204 and SB414 with Reedy Creek Investments LLC, both for the North America marketplace,” Novan said in the announcement.

Novan noted that the Martins “are not related in any way.”

New executive

Joining the management team is Michelle Patterson.  She will manage product portfolio milestones across the company including regulatory, clinical and manufacturing units.

Patterson will also lead coordination of Novan’s application for SB206, a gel the company is testing for the treatment of viral skin infections. The company plans to submit a NDA for the gel if test results, expected in the first quarter of 2020, are positive.

Patterson most recently served as senior director of program management with Urovant Sciences.

“With Phase 3 molluscum pivotal trials well underway and results expected no later than early in the first quarter of 2020, Michelle will add tremendous value to our process, approach and project management mindset in order to be prepared for a potential NDA submission,” said Paula Brown Stafford, president and chief operating officer of Novan.

Novan is a clinical development-stage biotechnology company focused on utilizing nitric oxide to treat a range of diseases.

[North Carolina Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism, contributed to this report.]