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Thursday, April 18, 2024

High Point-based biotech stock doubles after $51 million infusion

A High Point biopharmaceutical company saw its stock price more than double on Wednesday after it announced a $51 million infusion from a private sale of stock to well-known health care investors.

vTv Therapeutics, which is developing a drug to treat diabetes, saw its stock rise 113% to $17.70, up $9.40, in Wednesday afternoon trading.

The investors are Samsara BioCapital of Palo Alto, California, and the JDRF T1D Fund, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of research focused on accelerating cures, preventing and treating type 1 diabetes. Earlier this month, Samsara invested in Adverum Technologies, a California-based company developing treatments for ocular diseases.

Srinivas Akkaraju, founder and managing general partner at Samsara, will be joining the vTv board, which is being reduced from nine members to seven. Three of the seven members will be designated by the new investors.

“We believe that the proceeds of the [private investment] will take the company through topline data from the first Phase 3 cadisegliatin study, which represents a significant inflection point for vTv,” said vTv CEO Paul Sekhri in a statement.

Cadisegliatin is as an adjunctive therapy to insulin for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

There are more than 18 million people living with type 1 diabetes worldwide with fewer than 30% meeting their A1c targets. The A1c test — also known as the hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c test — is a simple blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months.

vTv Therapeutics, previously known as TransTech Pharma, went public in 2015. It once tried to develop an Alzheimer’s drug Azeliragon. Billionaire investor Ronald Perelman owns more than 57% of the company through his MacAndrews & Forbes firm.

According to the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the board approved increasing Sekhri’s base annual salary from $480,000 to $650,000, and provide him a one-time bonus of $471,042.

Departing board members are chair Jonathon Isaacsohn, Keith Harris, Hersh Kozlov and John A. Fry. Joining the board is Raymond Cheong, a principal at New York-based Baker Brothers Investments.

Perelman’s ownership of vTv has added allure to the company, but it’s been a slog for long-term investors. Shares topped $100 in 2020 and 2021, but have traded for less than $20 since last September.

Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at croush@businessnc.com.

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