Philadelphia antiviral therapy maker Novira nets $550K from BioAdvance Greenhouse

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BioAdvance, the Biotechnology Green House Corporation of Southeastern Pennsylvania, likes what it sees in Novira Therapeutics, and that bodes well for the emerging life sciences company in Philadelphia. BioAdvance recently announced a $550,000 seed-stage investment in Novira that will both help develop novel small molecule drugs against medically important viral targets and expand the company’s management team.

“We selected Novira for investment based on the team and its novel scientific strategy, which allows a pipeline of new therapies to treat different kinds of viruses to be progressed in a capital-efficient way,” says Barbara S. Schilberg, managing director and CEO of BioAdvance, which has committed $15.5 million to 25 life sciences companies and 15 pre-seed projects since 2003. Those investments have enabled its portfolio companies to leverage nearly $1 billion in subsequent capital through private equity, grants, collaborations and merger/acquisitions activity.

Novira, originally founded in 2006 as Melecmo Nanobiotechnologies in Cambridge, Mass., will be attempting to disable the ability of viral proteins to “hijack” cellular elements. Two former Merck research executives, Osvaldo Flores and George D. Hartman, have joined Novira for the task. Flores has advanced more than 10 drug candidates from target identification/validation to various stages of pre-clinical and clinical development, while Hartman is a world-renowned chemist.

Novira was also recently one of 104 recipients–out of 4,000 applicants–to be awarded a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop novel treatments for HIV.

Source: Barbara Schilberg, BioAdvance
Writer: Joe Petrucci

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