Troubled VIA Pharmaceuticals axes all but six workers

Staring down a multimillion-dollar loan repayment deadline, troubled VIA Pharmaceuticals has borrowed some more money and time after whittling away about two thirds of its small workforce, reducing its staff to six in a restructuring.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, VIA pledged all of its assets to secure a $10 million loan from Bay City Capital a year ago and owed the principal and interest today. "The Company will not be able to repay the loan when it becomes due on April 1, 2010," VIA reported to the SEC. At the end of last year the company had a deficit of $81 million and $2.2 million of cash on hand.

In a release yesterday, VIA said it was taking a $1.25 million draw from a $3 million secured note with Bay City, giving it enough cash to continue operating into the third quarter of this year.  

"VIA's pipeline takes a novel approach to the treatment of major cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, including atherosclerosis and diabetes," said CEO Lawrence K. Cohen, Ph.D., in a prepared statement "By focusing our workforce on a core research and development team and raising this new financing, we have provided additional time to explore opportunities for advancing these promising product candidates, including strategic partnerships or additional financings."

- here's VIA's release
- and here's the report from the San Francisco Business Times