National Editor

With a $43.75 million initial public offering in its back pocket, Anadys Pharmaceuticals Inc. made good on its plan to enter a licensing deal with LG Life Sciences Ltd. for a Phase II nucleotide analogue as front-line treatment for chronic hepatitis B virus.

Michael Kamdar, senior vice president of corporate development and finance for San Diego-based Anadys, told BioWorld Today the company remains in the quiet period related to its IPO until the close of business Tuesday and therefore could not comment.

South Korea-based LGLS granted Anadys an exclusive license to develop LB80380 (ANA380) for chronic HBV infection in North America, Europe, Japan and the rest of the world other than China, Korea, India and countries in Southeast Asia. The parties will work jointly and share costs on a global basis, but specific financial terms were not disclosed.

The drug - which has potential for once-daily dosing - showed activity in vitro against HBV typically found in untreated patients as well as HBV variants that demonstrate resistance to treatment with the nucleotide analogue lamivudine (Epivir, or 3TC, the antiviral therapy from Laval, Quebec-based BioChem Pharma Inc.). Anadys said preclinical work has turned up significant activity against HBV, with low potential for drug interactions and good tolerability in a range of toxicology studies.

According to paperwork filed with the SEC, the overseas firm granted Anadys the exclusive license option in February, and exercising it was contingent on Anadys having net current assets of not less than $60 million and net assets of not less than $64 million on April 17.

LGLS is focused on anti-infectives, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases and tallied about $150 million in sales last year.

At the time of pricing its IPO, Anadys outlined its own plans, saying it would use the funds to conduct a Phase I/II trial for its lead hepatitis C drug, isatoribine, and to continue the Phase I hepatitis C trial of ANA971 that began in February. The company also plans to choose a product candidate from its ANA97X series to treat hospital-based infections. (See BioWorld Today, March 29, 2004.)

Anadys' stock (NASDAQ:ANDS) closed Monday at $8, up 10 cents.