Anti-influenza drug developer NanoViricides received a $5 million dollar investment from one of its independent board members, Dr. Milton Boniuk, MD, a Caroline F. Elles chair professor of ocular oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. The investment was made with a debt instrument used by companies to borrow capital at a fixed rate of interest known as a convertible debenture.
Boniuk justified the investment as a result of his growing confidence in the company since he became director and was able to closely monitor the management and execution of NanoViricides. “My belief that the Company’s potential is nothing short of amazing has only become stronger as I become more familiar with the Company’s technology, programs, and achievements,” explained Boniuk.
The debenture is convertible into the company’s common stock at $5.25 per share upon maturity or earlier at the option of the investor. Until then, the company will be paying the professor an interest rate of 10% in cash. The first year will be deferred and divided evenly in three years. The company also granted Boniuk an initial interest of Series A Preferred 187,000 shares, which are not convertible into common stock, not tradable and do not carry any dividend rights, or any other financial effects, except in certain limited circumstances.
This is not the first time that Boniuk has invested in the company, as he has participated in earlier rounds of financing as well. With the new debenture, the company has raised a total of $12 million since Boniuk joined the company’s board as an independent director in May 2013, at the request of the NanoViricides’ executives. The investments were made both personally and with his charitable foundation.
The company also recently became a member of the U.S. small-cap Russell 2000 Index after the equity markets closed on June 27th. NanoViricides believes that the one-year addition of its shares to the Russell Indexes is very significant and that it will provide greater visibility in the institutional investments sector. Texas drug developers Opexa and Bio-Path Holdings were also recently added to the Russell Indexes.
NanoViricides’ main research field focuses on anti-influenza drugs, and is now developing a drug that the company expects to be effective against most of influenza viruses, including the H7N9 bird flu, H3N2 or H1N1 epidemic viruses, H5N1 bird flu, seasonal influenza, as well as novel influenza viruses. The injectable FluCide drug candidates have shown 1,000x greater viral load reduction as compared to oseltamivir (Tamiflu), the current standard of care, in a highly lethal influenza infection animal model.