Cocrystal Pharma, a biotechnology company developing novel antiviral therapeutics for human diseases, today announced the closing of its merger with RFS Pharma, LLC, a privately owned biotech company founded by renowned drug developer, Dr. Raymond Schinazi. Since 2004, RFS Pharma has been working on the development of innovative drugs to treat human viral diseases.
The shareholders of Cocrystal and of RFS Pharma each own approximately 50% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis following the merger. Dr. Raymond F. Schinazi, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors at RFS Pharma said, “This merger will produce significant advances in innovation and research productivity. We are excited to join forces with Cocrystal to extend our product portfolio. The skill set and technology that the Cocrystal team brings to the combined company is highly synergistic with RFS Pharma’s programs. Together, we will be able to flourish as an organization that can accelerate progress towards drug approval of novel treatments and cures for serious viral diseases.”
“We are enthusiastic about this merger, as the combined platform builds on both companies’ technological strengths and will further enhance the opportunity to develop superior drugs to treat major viral infections,” said Dr. Gary Wilcox, CEO and Co-Chairman of the Board of the combined company. “We believe the strategic benefits of the merger with RFS Pharma will greatly enhance the value of our product portfolio. Dr. Schinazi, a leader in nucleoside chemistry and biology, was the founder of several successful biotechnology companies including Pharmasset, Inc. (VRUS; acquired by Gilead for $11.4 B in 2012), Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX; acquired by Merck for $3.85 B in 2014) and Triangle Pharmaceuticals (VIRS; acquired by Gilead in 2003).”
The directors of the combined company are Phillip Frost, Gary Wilcox, Steven D. Rubin, Jane Hsiao, David Block, Jeffrey Meckler and Raymond F. Schinazi. Gary Wilcox and Raymond Schinazi will serve as Co-Chairmen of Cocrystal.
The combined company intends to have a broad pipeline of products targeting hepatitis, influenza, rhinovirus, dengue fever and norovirus (with several classes of agents such as nucleoside prodrugs, NS5A inhibitors, non-nucleoside inhibitors, and helicase inhibitors) and will capitalize on RFS Pharma’s innovative longstanding nucleoside experience merged with Cocrystal’s unique drug design expertise.
Dr. Roger Kornberg, one of the founders of Cocrystal, will serve as the Chief Scientific Officer for the combined company. Dr. Kornberg received the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and is Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine.