With plans to advance its antimicrobial pipeline, NovaBay Pharmaceuticals Inc. filed for an initial public offering, looking for as much as $23 million to support development work and listings on both the American and Toronto stock exchanges under the symbol "NBY."
The company, which started operations in mid-2002 as NovaCal Pharmaceuticals Inc. and only recently changed its name to NovaBay, aims to exploit a platform based on its Aganocide compounds, broad-spectrum antimicrobials that have shown activity against a wide range of infections, from antibiotic-resistant bacteria to fungi, yeast and spores.
To date, the company's funding, which includes about $11 million in private financing, has yielded a lead Aganocide compound, NVC-422, an analog of N-chlorotaurine and N,N-dichlorotaurine molecules, that demonstrated efficacy in animal models of chronic wounds, eye infections and ear infections.
Funding from the IPO is expected to be used for continued development of NVC-422. NovaBay intends to pursue in-house development and commercialization of drugs against hospital-related infections, and plans to submit an investigational new drug application this quarter for the drug in pre-surgery nasal decolonization.
Further trials are expected to follow in 2008 in catheter-associated urinary tract infections, dialysis access-associated infections, central venous catheter infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia.
At the same time, the company will be seeking partners to help with development in larger indication areas. The company already has one collaboration lined up. It signed a licensing agreement with eye care company Alcon Inc., of Fort Worth, Texas, in August 2006 to develop Aganocide-based compounds for use in the eye, ear and sinus, as well as in contact lens solutions. That deal brought NovaBay $10 million in technology access fees, and could result in future milestones and royalties.
In addition to research and development, NovaBay also expects to use funds for working capital and general corporate purposes.
For the first nine months of 2006, the company reported a net loss of $4.1 million. As of Sept. 30, its cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled about $13 million.
NovaBay ended the year with 31.8 million shares outstanding. Of those, Chairman and CEO Ron Najafi owns nearly 20 percent, about 6.2 million shares.
The company has 29 full-time employees and is based in Emeryville, Calif.
In other financings news:
• Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., said in its earnings that it secured an equity financing commitment from Azimuth Opportunity Ltd. for up to $50 million of the company's stock over the next 18 months. During that time, Ariad, at its sole discretion, would be able to sell shares to Azimuth at a discount for proceeds to support operations and for general corporate purposes, including development of its oncology product candidates. The financing arrangement is intended to provide the company with flexibility as it moves forward with partnering and product development activities. Ariad anticipates completing a development and commercialization deal in the second quarter for its mTOR inhibitor, AP23573, in oncology indications. In separate news, the company said it filed a special protocol assessment with the FDA on the design and endpoints of a pivotal Phase III program of oral AP23573 in patients with metastatic soft-tissue and bone sarcomas. The company anticipates a primary endpoint of progression-free survival. AP23573 has received fast-track status in the U.S. Ariad reported a net loss of $14.4 million, or 22 cents per share, for the quarter ending Dec. 31. As of that date, its cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities totaled $39.8 million. Shares of Ariad (NASDAQ:ARIA) closed at $5.23 Thursday, down 29 cents.
• Devgen NV, of Ghent, Belgium, raised €31 million (US$40.7 million) through a private placement, placing 1.5 million shares with institutional investors at a price of €20.75 each. Devgen's business focuses on several areas of biotech, including products to protect crops from pest damage, environmental-friendly agrochemical products for crop protection against plant parasitic nematodes and therapeutic drug candidates for treating metabolic diseases and inflammation.
• Genelabs Technologies Inc., of Redwood City, Calif., completed the sale of about 5.8 million shares of stocks and warrants to purchase 1.7 million shares for gross proceeds of $10 million. Shares and warrants were sold for $1.72 per share. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. acted as the placement agent.
• MediGene AG, of Martinsried, Germany, closed a capital increase of about €12.6 million (US$16.6 million), with proceeds expected to support the setup of a dermatology sales force and for research and development. The sole lead manager, DZ Bank, subscribed to 2.1 million shares and offered them to institutional investors in Germany and Europe at a price of €6.10 per share.