Maker of Hepatitis B antiviral raises $9M

There’s been a lot of hype around new Hep C drugs (cough, Gilead, cough), but less attention’s paid to Hepatitis B, a stunningly prevalent version of the virus that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. Novira Therapeutics just raised $9 million in debt from 10 investors, according to a regulatory filing. The startup last year […]

There’s been a lot of hype around new Hep C drugs (cough, Gilead, cough), but less attention’s paid to Hepatitis B, a stunningly prevalent version of the virus that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Novira Therapeutics just raised $9 million in debt from 10 investors, according to a regulatory filing. The startup last year raised a $25 million Series A, with investors that included Versant Ventures, 5AM Ventures and Canaan Partners.

The company’s NVR 3-778 antiviral is a small molecule drug that inhibits the Hep B core or capsid protein. It recently released Phase 1b trial info, which showed that Novira’s lead candidate was well-tolerated in 40 subjects.

About one third of the world’s population is infected with Hep B, according to the World Health Organization; about 5 percent have a chronic form of the disease. The infection leads to more than 1 million deaths per year, the WHO says.