TRIPLEX TO FILE FIRST TRIPLE HELIX IND DURING 1993
TRIPLEX TO FILE FIRST TRIPLE HELIX IND DURING 1993 for an antiviral indication, the company said in a March 18 prospectus for an initial public offering. "Depending on the results of its preclinical research, the company plans to file an IND for either [herpes simplex virus] or HIV in 1993," the prospectus says. Triplex has two lead compounds against HSV-1 (B-116 and B-108), one targeting HSV-2 (B-106) and one targeting the AIDS virus (HIV- 38), the prospectus says. Triplex' antiviral research program is backed by a $30 mil. collaboration with Hoechst AG announced in January ("The Pink Sheet" Feb. 3, T&G-4). The deal grants Hoechst rights to a limited number of undisclosed viral targets. Hoechst made a $3 mil. payment to Triplex at the close of the deal on Jan. 1 and has an option to pay $2 mil. more for an equity stake in the company (615,385 shares if Hoechst exercises its option prior to the offering, substantially less if it exercises the option subsequently). Hoechst also has made $400,000 in research payments through March 15, the prospectus says. Triplex' "technology is based upon scientific evidence that oligonucleotides can bind to the major groove of the DNA double helix to form a triple helix" and block transcription, the prospectus says. Triplex contrasts this technology to antisense, which involves blocking messenger RNA to prevent protein synthesis. Triplex maintains "that, in many instances, antisense approaches may be rendered ineffective by the cell's own efficient mRNA control mechanism." Triple helix technology could require smaller doses since it acts directly on one DNA site rather than on "thousands" of mRNA copies, the prospectus maintains. Several companies working on antisense, including Gilead and Genta, also have triple helix (or "triple strand") research programs. Triplex has rights to four pending patent applications which "cover the basic technology of triple helix formation using certain oligonucleotides which specifically bind to target sites in double helical DNA molecules," the prospectus says. Triplex has spent $2.8 mil. on R&D since its founding in May 1989. In addition to its lead antiviral compounds, the company has identified lead compounds as potential treatments for breast cancer, colon cancer and post-angioplasty restenosis. Triplex also has research programs targeting cytomegalovirus, human papillomavirus and hepatitis B. The Woodlands, Texas-based Triplex is seeking at least $25 mil. from the offering of 2.5 mil. shares, which it expects will fund operations through the end of 1995. Underwriters are First Boston and J. P. Morgan. Former Glaxo exec James Chubb, PhD, serves as Triplex' CEO. Former Sterling-Winthrop VP-Licensing and Acquisitions Chistopher Kelly is Triplex' VP-commercial development. VP-Molecular and Biological Research Gregory Reyes, MD/PhD, joined in March from Genelabs, where he was VP of molecular biology. The company's director of finance and administration is Ray Webb.
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