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BioCryst scoops up early-stage hep C drugs in $101M Presidio acquisition

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Jon Stonehouse, CEO of BioCryst

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals ($BCRX) has put together a deal to acquire a small biotech in San Francisco in an all-stock deal valued at $101 million. The Durham, NC-based BioCryst will gain some early-stage hepatitis C drug components as it absorbs Presidio Pharmaceuticals into the company, which will seek a new identity under a different name. The deal is also tied to a $60 million financing pact. 

BioCryst CEO Jon Stonehouse did his best to talk up the company's position in the high-stakes world of hep C drug development--a field where it's been largely overshadowed by a host of high-profile biopharma players such as Gilead ($GILD), Abbott ($ABT), Vertex ($VRTX) and others far more advanced in the pipeline.

The hep C drug development game is played with several key pieces. And Presidio is bringing two components to the party at BioCryst. There is a Phase II-ready NS5A, the oral PPI-668, and a preclinical non-nuc NS5B polymerase, PPI-383. BioCryst, meanwhile, is prepping its nucleoside analog BCX5191 for a Phase I study. 

"Presidio brings exciting HCV assets to the new company, and a highly experienced scientific team with a proven track record in antiviral drug discovery and development," said Stonehouse in a prepared statement. "Each of our HCV antivirals works via a different targeting mechanism and each is suitable for development in combination regimens with other classes of HCV inhibitors. The diversity of our HCV portfolio reduces our clinical development risk and defines this new company as a serious competitor in the development of orally administered, safe and effective combination therapies for hepatitis C."

The terms of the deal call for a $60 million equity investment, with Presidio shareholders purchasing $25 million of the financing. The new company will also reorganize into a new company with a new name.

BioCryst is best known for peramivir, a late-stage anti-viral, and a mid-stage gout drug called ulodesine (BCX4208), both of which have received decidedly mixed reviews by analysts. Presidio was launched back in 2006 under the direction of co-founder Omar Haffar, who was replaced by Bay City Capital's Daniel Perez last fall.

- here's the press release

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