ATLANTA—Corautus Genetics and San Francisco-based VIA Pharmaceuticals announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement that should create a drug development company targeting blood vessel inflammation to treat cardiovascular disease. The exchange of Corautus common stock for VIA common stock will leave the latter's stockholders with 76.4% ownership of the combined company.
"The Corautus team has spent the past several months reviewing strategic opportunities," said Richard Otto, Corautus CEO. "The novel therapeutic development program underway at VIA addresses a large cardiovascular patient population. In addition, the substantial support of Bay City Capital, VIA's principal stockholder, and the experience of the VIA management team were key strengths as we evaluated this merger."
VIA is currently conducting two Phase II trials of the combined company's lead candidate VIA-2291, a small-molecule drug targeting atherosclerosis. The merger should help the combined company leverage its position in a growing cardiovascular drug market that reached $27.5 billion in 2005 and is projected to surpass $36 billion by 2012, according to research by Frost & Sullivan.