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Raleigh-Durham Roundup: Chimerix, vTv, Biotech Center, & More

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

Here are headlines from the past week in North Carolina biotech and cleantech news.

—A Chimerix (NASDAQ: CMRX) antiviral being studied as a smallpox countermeasure showed positive results in a trial evaluating the drug in animals. The Durham company is studying brincidofovir under the FDA’s animal efficacy rule, which is used to test a drug’s effectiveness in diseases that are not ethical or feasible to test in humans. Chimerix’s study of brincidofovir in smallpox is supported by a government contract worth up to $435 million. The Chimerix drug is already in two separate late-stage clinical trials in patients with weakened immune systems, one studying the drug as a way to prevent cytomegalovirus, and another studying the drug as a way to treat adenovirus. The FDA has granted fast track designation for brincidofovir in smallpox, cytomegalovirus, and adenovirus.

—High Point-based drug developer vTv Therapeutics set terms for a $125 million IPO. The company, whose lead drug is in late-stage clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease, is expected to price its IPO this week. The vTv drug pipeline also includes a type 2 diabetes drug candidate.

—NephroGenex (NASDAQ: NRX) closed a secondary stock offering as the company continues late-stage clinical trial work on Pyridorin, a drug treating diabetic nephropathy. The Raleigh company said it expects to net $6.6 million from the sale. The offering was considerably smaller than the $30 million that NephroGenex sought to raise in April. The company said in securities filings that based on current spending levels, it only has enough cash to last through early 2016.

—Duke Energy Renewables, a business unit of Charlotte-based Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), acquired a 20-megawatt solar project being built by Ecoplexus in northeastern North Carolina. No financial terms were disclosed. Duke says the Shawboro facility will produce enough electricity to power about 4,000 homes. Dominion NC Power will buy power from the solar project under a 15-year agreement. Duke expects the facility to be completed by the end of the year.

—The North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s top executive made his case that the state-funded center deserves a place in the state’s budget. While the House plans to keep the Biotech Center’s funding at its current $13.6 million level, the Senate’s budget cuts the center’s funding entirely. Biotech Center President and CEO Doug Edgeton told the Raleigh News & Observer’s editorial board that the center’s programs help support early-stage companies that go on to raise funding and create jobs in the state.

—In other Biotech Center news, the center reported that it awarded a total of 82 loans and grants to companies and universities in the state totaling $6.7 million for the fiscal year ending June 30. In the fiscal fourth quarter, the Biotech Center made 27 awards totaling about $1.8 million.

Photo of downtown Durham at sunset courtesy of Flickr user David Mooring under a creative commons license.