Venture groups snap up $50M block of Achillion shares

Achillion Pharmaceuticals is raising $50 million through the sale of its common shares to a slate of venture backers in a deal designed to fuel its clinical trial work on new hepatitis C drugs. Domain Associates, Clarus Ventures, Quaker BioVentures and Pappas Ventures are buying 19,755,101 shares at $2.49 each with warrants on another block of shares.

Last May Achillion's shares jumped to $2.89, rising 22 percent after the developer reported promising preliminary data from an early-stage trial of its lead hep C therapy. That proof-of-concept data helped fuel its new deal.

"We believe this financing gives us the resources to meaningfully advance our portfolio of clinical candidates for chronic HCV infection to significant milestones," said CEO Michael Kishbauch. "Our portfolio is led by protease inhibitor ACH-1625, a potentially best-in-class compound. ACH-1625 has already demonstrated clinical proof of concept as a potent inhibitor of HCV NS3 protease, with a remarkably clean safety and tolerability profile, a unique PK profile, and once-daily dosing. That compound is followed by pan-genotypic inhibitor ACH-2684 and NS5A inhibitor ACH-2928, both of which we anticipate will enter the clinic in early 2011. With several potential combinations, some of which could operate synergistically, we are quite excited about the possibility of initiating combination studies of ACH-1625 with our other inhibitors as soon as possible."

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