Novirio Pharmaceuticals Ltd. filed for its initial public offering, seeking $115 million and proposing the ticker symbol IDIX.
Cambridge, Mass.-based Novirio is developing antiviral therapies for hepatitis and HIV infection. It focuses on nucleoside chemistry and biology. The company was founded in 1998 and has raised more than $69 million from U.S., European and Asian investors, including a $44 million Series C round in May 2001. (See BioWorld Today, May 8, 2001.)
The offering is being co-led by Goldman Sachs & Co., of New York, and Banc of America Securities LLC, of San Francisco. Also participating are JP Morgan Securities Inc., of New York; and US Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc., of Minneapolis
The company has two hepatitis B products LdT and LdC. LdT, a nucleoside antiviral, is designed to inhibit the hepatitis B virus and is in a Phase IIb study. Novirio signed with Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., of Tokyo, in June, giving Sumitomo rights to the product in Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea in exchange for up to $46 million in up-front fees and milestones. Novirio also will get undisclosed royalties. (See BioWorld Today, June 29, 2001.)
LdC is synergistic to LdT and is in a Phase I/II trial. The company also has NV-02A and NV-06, two preclinical HBV products, in development.
Regarding hepatitis C, Novirio said it uses a process known as directed medicinal chemistry structure-activity relationship analysis and has discovered nucleoside analogues that it expects will be active against HCV. Novirio said it should initiate in late 2002 clinical trials of its first HCV drug candidate, after completing preclinical work.
Novirio is evaluating a method to enhance the antiviral activity of certain HIV protease inhibitors and, using its non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor program, has selected several clinical candidates.
Novirio’s offices were closed Monday in observance of Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts. Officials could not be reached for comment.
Separately, the company said it elected Thomas Hodgson to its board. Hodgson was president and chief operating officer of Abbott Laboratories, of Abbot Park, Ill. Before Abbott, Hodgson was an associate with Booz Allen and Hamilton Management Consultants.