Washington Editor

PTC Therapeutics Inc. on Wednesday said it closed a Series E $50 million private placement that netted the company $35 million in December.

The privately held firm, located in South Plainfield, N.J., intends to use proceeds to advance its clinical development of PTC124, a candidate poised for Phase I trials in genetic disorders, including cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. Other funds will support PTC's continued advancement of its antiviral and anti-angiogenesis programs, currently on track to identify one development candidate per year, Stuart Peltz, PTC's president and CEO, told BioWorld Today.

Since its inception in 1998, the firm has raised about $116 million (including the Series E). Although Peltz would not release the firm's cash position, he said the latest round is expected to take the company well into 2006. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 21, 2001, and Jan. 8, 2004.)

The company discovers and develops small-molecule drugs by applying its integrated RNA biology and chemistry platforms. PTC's compounds alter gene expression by selectively modulating how RNA is used to produce proteins.

In early May, PTC filed its investigational new drug application for PTC124. Preclinical testing in genetic disorder models demonstrated that the compound is effective, well tolerated and orally bioavailable.

Meanwhile, PTC's anti-angiogenesis oncology program targets post-transcriptional control of VEGF. Its antiviral program focuses on hepatitis C.

The Series E financing was led by CSFB Private Equity, the private equity arm of Credit Suisse First Boston in New York, and HBM Bioventures, of Zurich, Switzerland. Other participants included Bay City Capital, of San Francisco; Delphi Ventures, of Menlo Park, Calif.; Hansa Special Opportunities Fund Ltd., of Bermuda; HealthCap, of Stockholm, Sweden; Novo A/S, wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation of Novo Nordisk A/S, of Bagsvaerd, Denmark; and Vulcan Capital, of Seattle. New investors participating in the round included Genavent Partners LP, of Paris; Novartis BioVentures, a sub-fund of the Novartis Venture Fund family of Novartis AG, of Basel, Switzerland; and Posco BioVentures.