CV Therapeutics, a privately held company focused on molecularcardiology, has raised $16.6 million in a private placement of preferredstock. This brings to just under $30 million the total the MountainView, Calif.-based company has raised since its formation in 1992.The financing completed yesterday was a mezzanine round, which isusually made at the stage before a company goes public. The placementwas arranged through Alex Brown and Sons of Baltimore. It includedinstitutional investors as well as the earlier venture capital participants:Institutional Venture Partners, Delphi BioVentures, Asset ManagementCo., Sequoia Capital, Frazier and Co., Sofinova, Piper Jaffray, andSchroder Ventures.Louis Lange, CV's chairman and chief executive officer, noted that thenew offering coincided with the receipt of FDA clearance to beginPhase I clinical trials for CVT-1, the company's cholesterol-loweringproduct. The trials began in February this year. CVT-1, an orally activecompound, is a sulfated polysaccharide. It inhibits a cholesteroltransport protein that plays a key role in promoting the absorption ofcholesterol from the intestine."Because CVT-1 inhibits the absorption of cholesterol, we believe thechances of toxicity will be significantly decreased," said DebraBannister, the company's director of public affairs.In animal trials, CVT-1 was associated with a 50 percent reduction inserum cholesterol in cholesterol-fed animals, and a 32 percentreduction in serum cholesterol in animals receiving normal feed, thecompany reported.With Genta Inc. (NASDAQ:GNTA) of San Diego, CV Therapeutics isco-developing antisense compounds designed to prevent restenosisfollowing angioplasty. Bannister said the companies hope to beginPhase I trials of the compounds in the first half of 1995.The compounds inhibit cell cycle genes and proteins and prevent thesynthesis of the proteins that control cell division, particularly theproliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. The technology islicensed from Stanford University. It is being developed incollaboration with Victor Dzau, who heads the cardiovascular divisionat the university's School of Medicine.CV Therapeutics is also developing inhibitors of a lipid factor or"chemotaxin" discovered by the company that attracts macrophages toinjured tissue, resulting in the chronic inflammation found inrheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, and other diseases. Bannister saidthe company hopes to begin clinical trials in 1996. However, she notedthat CV Therapeutics will focus on cardiovascular applications of theinhibitor. Applications related to rheumatoid arthritis or other diseaseswould probably be outlicensed, she said.042794CVTHERAPEUTICS
-- Philippa Maister
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