Sydney based company Biotron's (ASX: BIT) underwritten entitlement issue has closed raising $2.1 million, 23 per cent over-subscribed. The issue was pitched to existing shareholders on a 1 for 1 pro-rata non-renounceable entitlement issue of options basis.
Applications were received for 141,307,254 options, 26,769,939 oversubscribed.
Biotron is progressing an HIV treatment drug BIT225, achieving significant early success. The drug was tested in a study involving 18 HIV positive patients at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital.
Scientists at the recent Fourth International Workshop on HIV Persistence During Therapy heard the drug was able to inhibit replication of the HIV virus in monocyte cells isolated from the HIV-infected patients, where until now, it has been able to 'hide' from current drug treatments.
Biotron’s senior virologist Dr John Wilkinson told delegates at the convention that BIT225 was able to stop the virus replicating in these storage cells by up to 99 per cent. Importantly, it was also able to stop the virus transferring to uninfected T Cells.
Biotron's BIT225 specifically targets HIV in reservoir cells, offering the potential to stop this on-going cycle of infection.
The company is now progressing protocols for a Phase Ib/IIa trial of BIT225 in HIV patients. This trial is in addition to the proposed Phase II trial of the same drug in patients infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
The potential market for a drug capable of treating HIV infection is very large with the disease costing the USA $3.3 billion every year.
Biotron is understood be in discussions and negotiations with potential partners regarding a licensing agreement for BIT225.
Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company