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Viron Therapeutics Raises US $20 Million Series A Financing; Positions Viron To Complete Phase II Trial And Advance Additional Compounds Into Clinical Development



5/16/2006 10:32:43 AM

LONDON, ON, May 16 /PRNewswire/ - Viron Therapeutics Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced the closing of a US $20M Series A financing.

This financing, combined with the additional investment of $4.5M Viron received from the Canadian government through its TPC program, brings Viron's total financing to almost US $25M.

The investment, which was oversubscribed, was led by the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund and included participation from new investors including Amgen Ventures, BDC Venture Capital, GrowthWorks Capital and previous long time investors Novartis Pharma AG and Trudell Medical Ltd.

The investment will finance the company operations through to the end of 2008, enabling it to achieve a number of significant development milestones, including the completion of an ongoing Phase II clinical trial, the advancement of additional therapeutic drug candidates into the clinic and the optimization of its manufacturing process to further reduce cost of goods. Resources will also be allocated to the discovery process to ensure that Viron continues to exploit its sustainable platform by increasing the number of pipeline compounds beyond the current 7 drug candidates.

"This is a very significant deal for Viron, the Canadian biotechnology industry and for the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund," said Dr. Michael Cross, Senior Vice President of Fairway Capital, which manages the CMDF funds. "It confirms the importance and potential of Viron's unique therapeutic approach to targeting important diseases and improving human health while supporting best in class management and scientific founders. The company is executing well and delivering on its committed milestones and is establishing itself as an important player on the international biotechnology stage."

"We are thrilled to be working with such a strong group of investors and are confident that this investment positions us well for the future," said Neil K. Warma, President & Chief Executive Officer of Viron Therapeutics. "With our lead compound currently in Phase II testing and some strong collaborations underway with our pipeline compounds in such critical diseases as IBD, Lupus and RA, we hope to be in a position to introduce some of the most potent anti-inflammatory compounds to the market in the next several years. We also look forward to expanding our reach into the U.S. through a collaboration established with the University of Florida in Gainesville, which will become an important R&D hub for Viron," added Mr. Warma.

"This is one of the largest investments ever made by BDC in a biotech company and we are pleased to be part of Viron's success," said Dr. Andrew Fraser, Director, BDC Venture Capital. "We strongly believe in the potential of Viron's unique and innovative drug development to significantly impact the treatment of a variety of serious diseases. This financing round is an important step forward in strengthening Viron's role as a leading biotechnology company."

Clinical Program Update

Viron is currently enrolling patients in a multi-centered, Phase II trial with its lead compound, VT-111, in patients with Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) that are undergoing intervention. Viron previously announced that VT-111 has been shown to be safe and well tolerated in a Phase I clinical trial in healthy volunteers completed in the U.S. and, in numerous preclinical studies, VT-111 has demonstrated remarkable efficacy in both reducing and stabilizing atherosclerotic plaque.

About Viron Therapeutics Inc.

Viron Therapeutics Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused upon the commercialization of novel anti-inflammatory therapeutics. The company was spun out of Canada's Robarts Research Institute in 1997 and is based upon the vision of the founding scientists, Grant McFadden, Ph.D. and Alexandra Lucas, M.D., who have extensive expertise in viral pathogenesis and interventional cardiology, respectively, and who have been instrumental in the development of the therapeutic candidates over the years. Viron is focused on the development of therapeutics derived from viral proteins as a sustainable and unexploited source of novel drugs. Harnessing the evolutionary power of viruses that naturally produce potent anti-inflammatory proteins allows Viron to identify and develop powerful protein therapeutics that target the most effective pathways regulating the body's inflammatory responses to promote healing.

Viron Therapeutics Inc.

CONTACT: Neil K. Warma, President & CEO, Viron Therapeutics Inc., Tel:(519) 858-5109, info@vironinc.com


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