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Scynexis aims to raise $15M; hepatitis C drug candidate in phase 2 trials

11:09 am by | 0 Comments

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.

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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.

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By Frank Vinluan

Frank Vinluan is the North Carolina Bureau Chief for MedCity News.
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