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Shaky Finances for Dara BioSciences

Shaky Finances for Drug Company [the News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.]


From News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) (August 17, 2011)


Aug. 17--Dara BioSciences, a small Raleigh drug company, said in public filings that it has enough money left to continue operating for 10 months at most as it burns through $388,000 a month.


The six-employee drug development company has raised $16 million from private investors in the past two years and expects to do another round of financing, CEO Richard Franco said. One of its treatments would be the first to control the agonizing pain triggered by chemotherapy.


In recent years, the 9-year-old company narrowly avoided getting delisted from the Nasdaq exchange for being underfunded and because its stock price dipped below $1 per share. Shares are down 22 percent for the year and closed at $2.33 Tuesday.


Dara is developing two drugs -- one for diabetes and the other for cancer -- that the company plans to sell off before the drugs enter Phase III clinical trials, which are the final stage of drug-testing on patients.


Dara is planning Phase II clinical trials for both drugs. The cancer drug will undergo joint trials with the National Cancer Institute.


The cancer drug would be the first of its type on the market, Franco said. Known as KRN5500, it is designed to relieve the neuropathic pain that is caused by chemotherapy and produces extreme sensitivity to cold and heat.


Neuropathic pain is currently treated with massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, moist heat and opioids such as morphine, codeine or oxycodone.


The diabetes drug, DB959, would be taken as an oral pill once daily. It would treat the condition without producing weight gain as a side effect.




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Posted: August 2011