Chimerix Raises $100M on Heels of Oncoceutics Acquisition

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The pipeline of cancer drug developer Chimerix is growing, and the biotech has raised $100 million to support it.

Durham-based Chimerix priced the stock offering late Wednesday, selling more than 11.7 million shares for $8.50 apiece. The stock sale comes two weeks after the company acquired Oncoceutics, a Philadelphia company that has clinical-stage cancer drugs of its own.  

According to its prospectus, Chimerix plans to use proceeds from the stock offering to fund clinical trials of its drug candidates. The cash will also support pre-launch activity for the company’s late-stage compounds.

The most advanced Chimerix drug candidate, brincidofovir, is a potential treatment for smallpox, an orphan indication. The antiviral had previously failed in a late-stage study evaluating its ability to prevent a potentially fatal infection in transplant patients. But the company has continued its development as a smallpox treatment, research done in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Chimerix began a rolling submission of its new drug application for the antiviral last year. 

The FDA is expected to issue a regulatory decision for brincidofovir in April and the antiviral could become Chimerix’s first approved product. But the company has been remaking itself as a cancer drug developer. In 2019, Chimerix acquired a heparin-derived drug candidate that Cantex Pharmaceuticals was developing for acute myeloid leukemia. That drug, now known as dociparstat sodium (DSTAT), is designed to block the activity of proteins linked to the retention and viability of leukemia cells. DSTAT, which is intended to be used alongside chemotherapy, is currently in Phase 3 testing. 

The acquisition of privately held Oncoceutics, for $39 million in cash and $39 million in stock, adds four more cancer drug candidates to Chimerix’s pipeline. Oncoceutics is developing a new class of cancer drugs called imipridones. These small molecules are designed to selectively prompt cell death in tumors. The lead Oncoceutics drug candidate, ONC201, is in Phase 3 testing in high-grade gliomas, a type of fast-growing cancer affecting the brain and spinal cord. 

ONC201 is also in Phase 2 testing in neuroendocrine tumors and endometrial cancer, and in Phase 1 testing for leukemia. The Oncoceutics pipeline includes two other compounds in earlier stages of development. 

The Chimerix stock offering is part of a registration statement that the company already had on file with the SEC. Such so-called shelf registrations allow a company to pull some money “off the shelf” at a time of its choosing without needing to re-register securities. Chimerix’s stock price jumped 82 percent to $9.08 per share after the Oncoceutics acquisition was announced on Jan. 8. With the company’s shares continuing to trade at or above that price, Chimerix has concluded that now is a good time to sell stock.

In a regulatory filing, Chimerix said it expects the net proceeds from the stock offering will be about $93.7 million. The company has also granted its underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 1.74 million shares at $7.99 each. If all of those shares are sold, Chimerix’s total cash haul, after expenses, could reach $107.8 million, according to the filing.

Frank Vinluan, NCBiotech Writer
Thu, 01/21/2021 - 11:26