A Lowcountry pharmaceutical company has raised almost $7.6 million to seek federal approval for two drugs it's developing.
Aeterna Zentaris, which is registered in Canada but has its corporate offices in Summerville, said in a regulatory filing last week that the new investment would help to prepare its applications for two drugs in the middle of clinical trials.
Macrilen, a drug for adult growth hormone deficiency, and Zoptrex, a gynecological cancer treatment, are both in their final rounds of testing before they can be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The company says it expects to have initial results for those trials early next year, and it hopes to submit the drugs for approval later in 2017.
The funds are also meant to cover general costs while the company spends more on developing and testing drugs than it brings in, the disclosure says. The company lost $10.7 million in the first half of the year. Philip Theodore, the company's Summerville-based senior vice president, said the new investment should keep the firm operating through July.
The company says that to raise the new funding, it sold stock and the rights to buy more shares later to a "single healthcare dedicated institutional investor" in the U.S., which it didn't name. Theodore declined to name the hedge fund, but said the firm now owns about a fifth of Aeterna Zentaris's stock.
Aeterna, which also has operations in Frankfurt, Germany, arrived in South Carolina in 2014, saying it would set up shop with the S.C. Research Authority and eventually create 60 jobs here. So far, its growth hasn't reached that level: The company said it had 10 employees in the U.S. at the end of last year. Theodore said it would ramp up its hiring if one of the drugs passes muster.
"We're optimistic we're turning the corner," he said.
Blackbaud has disclosed roughly how much it paid to buy Attentive.ly, a Maryland startup it acquired over the summer in an effort to build social media monitoring into its products.
Tony Boor, chief financial officer, said the Daniel Island-based software company paid "roughly $4 million cash" for the startup. That's not a big expense compared to the Blackbaud's hundreds of millions of dollars in annual sales, but it was enough to drag on the $8.9 million of profits it reported in the third quarter.
Nonprofits use Attentive.ly’s software to keep tabs on what their supporters are saying on social media — a service aimed at helping charities better understand their base and interact with them more effectively. Blackbaud, a giant in the world of nonprofit technology, bought the company with plans to build those functions into its software.
Attentive.ly told regulators earlier this year that it was making less than $1 million a year, but Blackbaud has said it hopes its clients will pay extra to use the social media monitoring service.
The Atlanta communications company Avoxi plans to double the size of its Charleston office by next spring as it builds out its technical staff.
Avoxi, which sets up phone systems for call centers and makes software to manage them, opened an office on the peninsula last year to handle its software development work. The company focuses on overseas call centers, and it aims to bring their systems online — from internet-based phone connections to software managing their work.
CEO David Wise says the company has seven employees in Charleston, but it plans to have closer to 15 next year. For his part, Wise, a Mount Pleasant native, now spends about half of his time in the Lowcountry, and the company's chief technology officer works here, too.
Avoxi's decision to open an office here marked something of a shift for the company. Instead of repurposing others' technology, it decided last year to start developing its own, Wise said. So far, its staff has worked on retooling its user interface, and they're working on questions like how to reduce audio quality loss as data travels around the world.
Reach Thad Moore at 843-937-5703 or on Twitter @thadmoore.