Biozone Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that it has finalized its planned merger with Cocrystal Discovery, Inc., a privately-held, biotechnology company developing antiviral therapeutics for human diseases.
Cocrystal Discovery has previously received strategic investments from Teva Pharmaceuticals, Opko Health and The Frost Group.
Concurrent with the closing of the merger, Dr. Gary Wilcox has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. Dr. Wilcox previously served on the Board of Directors and was Executive Vice President of Operations at Icos Corporation from 1993 through its sale to Eli Lilly for $2.3 billion in 2007.
At Icos he led the team developing Cialis, which now has annual sales over $2 billion. Additionally, Dr. Roger Kornberg, has been appointed Chief Scientist and a Director of the combined entities. Dr. Kornberg received the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and is Professor of Structural Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Joining Dr. Wilcox and Dr. Fornberg on the Board of Directors is Dr. Phillip Frost, Dr. Sam Lee, Steven Rubin and Dr. Jane Hsiao. Dr. Frost is currently the Chairman and CEO of Opko Health, Inc, and the Chairman of the Board of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Hsiao is Vice Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of Opko Health, Inc.
Newly Appointed CEO and Chairman, Dr. Gary Wilcox commented, "We are keenly focused on bringing our small molecule inhibitors of the viral replication complex to market. We believe in our ability to discover oral, once-a-day, broad-spectrum antiviral drug candidates targeting the polymerase enzyme of the Hepatitis C virus. This merger provides us even greater resources to help bring products to market and offers our shareholders an opportunity to realize significant value on their investment."
Member of the Board of Directors Dr. Frost commented, "We are excited about the team we have assembled with Dr. Wilcox's top-notch pedigree and successes in bringing products to market; I am confident in the future of this company. There are many compelling advantages to the technologies for small molecule inhibitors of the viral replication complex."
Cocrystal Discovery has five therapeutic programs targeting the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), Influenza, the Human Rhinovirus (HRV), Dengue, and the Norovirus. The Hepatitis C Virus is the cause of 170 million chronic infections worldwide and has created a market for the treatment of $6 billion in 2012 that is projected to grow to $20 billion by 2020. Cocrystal Discovery is targeting two Hepatitis C replication enzymes, with its Polymerase program at lead optimization stage and its Helicase program at lead identification stage. Cocrystal Discovery's Influenza, HRV, Dengue, and Norovius programs are targeting unmet multi-billion dollar market opportunities with first-in-class antivirals.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, current shareholders of Biozone Pharmaceuticals and Cocrystal Discovery will own approximately 40% and 60% of the combined company, respectively. The company plans to apply for a name change and ticker change in the upcoming months to more accurately reflect its business moving forward.