Drug discovery and development firm Scynexis, which is moving forward on a new hepatitis C treatment, has raised $5 million in a fundraising effort targeted to reach up to $15 million.
A total of nine investors have invested in the round that is a combination of equity, debt, warrants and options, according to securities filings. Durham, North Carolina-based Scynexis’ investors include Alta Partners, Burrill & Company, KBL Healthcare Ventures, Societe Generale, Ventech, CDC Innovation and SR One, the venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK). Scynexis’ last fundraiser was in 2008 when the company hauled in $13.5 million in equity financing.
Scynexis collaborates with pharmaceutical companies on their drug discovery and development efforts and it already has a long list of drug partners that include Merck (NYSE:MRK), Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) and Roche (OTC:RHHBY). In the last five years, Scynexis has helped its partners advance 11 preclinical and clinical drug candidates.
The company also has drug candidates of its own. Scynexis’ proprietary internal pipeline is based on cyclophilin inhibitors, a class of drugs that Scynexis believes hold potential to treatment of a broad range of diseases. Hepatitis C is Scynexis’ first target. SCY-635, the first drug candidate to emerge from the drug pipeline, is being studied as a treatment for hepatitis C virus infection. The compound, currently in phase 2 clinical trials, works by reactivating the body’s natural defense mechanism that makes it capable of inhibiting replication of the virus.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3 percent of the world’s population is infected with hepatitis C and there are more than 170 million carriers at risk of developing liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. Scynexis sees SCY-635 as meeting an unmet medical need by serving as a potential replacement for recombinant interferon, the current standard hepatitis C treatment that has several serious side effects.