Durham-based drug developer Viamet plans to raise $75 million in IPO

jmurawski@newsobserver.comJuly 1, 2014 

Durham drug-developer Viamet Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday became the fifth Triangle biotechnology company to announce a public stock offering this year.

Viamet, co-founded in 2005 by former UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp, disclosed its plans in a public filing. The company hopes to raise $75 million to finance development of antifungals to treat yeast infections, athlete's foot and other fungal infections.

The 14-employee company doesn't have a drug on the market and has lost $7.3 million in the first three months of 2014 after losing $11.2 million last year. Viamet posted $2.9 million in revenue last year and $3.5 million the year before from federal grants and contract work for other pharmaceutical companies.

Viamet has not announced how it will price its shares, which will trade under the ticker VIAM. As part of the public stock offering, Viamet will undergo a corporate restructuring and separate a prostate business and other assets, and will end up with 11 employees.

Rick Katz, Viamet's chief business and financial officer, did not return a phone call. The company rents 7,500 square feet of office space on Emperor Boulevard under a lease that expires in March 2020.

Viamet's CEO, Robert Schotzinger, made $578,918 last year in salary, stock awards, incentives and other compensation. In all, Viamet's top three executives reaped nearly $1.3 million in total compensation last year.

Thorp, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry and last year became provost for Washington University in St. Louis, is not listed on Viamet's website as an executive, director, investor or adviser.

The company said it is developing antifungal treatments that are either more effective, or have fewer side effects than existing treatments.

Its lead candidate, VT-1161, is an oral medication for treating vaginal yeast infections and fungal infections of the toenails.

Viamet plans to test the experimental treatment on 200 patients with recurring yeast infections next year. It is currently testing the treatment on patients with acute yeast infections and on patients with athlete's foot.

Another product under development, VT-1129, is an oral drug to treat meningitis, a life-threatening fungal infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.

Murawski: 919-829-8932

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