Biolex to liquidate after burning $190M on hep C drug

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Biolex Therapeutics is calling it quits after burning through $190 million of venture cash from a slate of top-tier biopharma players on a once-promising hepatitis C drug.

In its heyday the Pittsboro, NC-based biotech had more than 100 workers primarily focused on a time-released hepatitis C drug dubbed Locteron. But plans for a 2008 IPO were torched by the financial crisis, and by the time Biolex filed for bankruptcy liquidation there was only about $800,000 in cash in the bank. The filing indicated $38 million in liabilities, according to a report in the Triangle Business Journal.

Back in 2008 CEO Jan Turek told FierceBiotech that its investors had sunk an additional $60 million into Biolex. Clarus Ventures led the round, with OrbiMed Advisors jumping on board as a new investor. They were joined by a big group of venture outfits that included Intersouth Partners, Quaker BioVentures, Johnson & Johnson Development, Polaris Ventures and the North Carolina Economic Development Fund.

Biolex's plan was to wrap mid-stage studies and sign on a partner for pivotal trials, But by early this year, Biolex's once bustling operation was reduced to a much smaller group of 13 staffers who were scrambling to find some way to raise new money. Hepatitis C is one of the hottest fields in the business, but the spotlight now is on a new generation of drugs which will do away with the need for interferon. And some of the biggest, most ambitious players in the business have jumped in, eclipsing drugs like Locteron. 

- here's the story from the Triangle Business Journal

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