From clinical fail to raising cash? Virios goes for public offering as shares reach all-time low
After a massive Phase IIb fail, antiviral biotech Virios is scrambling to bring in extra capital — all while the biotech’s shares have now reached their lowest point so far.
In the wake of disclosing its clinical trial failure early Monday, Virios announced later that day that it was going for a public offering. While the company’s first statement didn’t say much, the biotech said that it plans to use the money raised to further advance the biotech’s candidate that failed, IMC-1, through clinical development and set some aside for working capital.
Per an SEC filing, Virios priced its public offering at 10 million shares for 50 cents each — $5 million in total — and is expected to close on Thursday. Virios did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Shares of $VIRI, once $8.77 a share at market close on Friday, are now trading as a penny stock at a mere 49 cents — a 95% drop in less than two business days.
Virios put out a statement early Monday that a Phase IIb study, testing a possible treatment for fibromyalgia in more than 400 patients, failed to reach statistical significance in the study’s primary efficacy endpoint. The endpoint was the change from baseline in the weekly average of daily, self-reported, average pain severity scores — comparing the candidate to placebo. That p-value didn’t reach that significance threshold, coming in at p=0.302.
The biotech had pointed some of the blame for the study fail on Covid-19, with execs noting on an investor and analyst call Monday morning that at least 9% of patients self-reported being positive for the coronavirus while the study was not routinely testing for it. On top of that, Virios said that the company saw a “bifurcation” of results in patients, depending on whether Delta or Omicron were the predominant variants spreading around.
Virios is not the only company in recent memory to try and raise capital in light of revealing data — whether good or bad. In the last 10 days, Allakos asked for $150 million after posting lukewarm results in a chronic inflammatory disease just yesterday. Akero, wielding positive Phase II data in NASH last week, opened up a $175 million public offering.
And two days before the Akero offering, both Alnylam and Relay announced their plans to raise capital after both reported positive data. Alnylam said it would be seeking $900 million in convertible senior notes due 2027, and Relay asked for $300 million via a public offering after unveiling bile duct cancer therapy data at ESMO.