SAN DIEGO and SHENZHEN, China, Dec. 03, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Shenzhen Salubris Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. (Salubris, SZSE: 002294) and Viracta Therapeutics, Inc. announced the initial closing of a financing, with Salubris committing $10 million as the lead investor. New investor Virtus Inspire Ventures, as well as Viracta’s existing investors, NantKwest, Inc., Latterell Venture Partners and Forward Ventures, all participated in the financing. In addition to the financing, Salubris and Viracta have entered into an exclusive Collaboration and License Agreement to bring Viracta’s novel treatment approach for virus-associated malignancies to China.

Viracta is advancing its innovative approach for viral-associated cancers in a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial for Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)-associated lymphomas in the US and Brazil. The approach is the first targeted, orally administered therapy for EBV-associated malignancies. It incorporates Viracta’s proprietary drug candidate, nanatinostat (VRx-3996) in combination with an antiviral as a targeted treatment to eradicate a range of viral-associated cancers. Viracta plans to initiate a clinical trial for the treatment of EBV-associated solid tumors in the coming year.

EBV-associated nasopharyngeal carcinoma is endemic in Southern China. EBV is also highly associated with the incidence and progression of other solid tumors, including gastric carcinoma, as well as NK/T cell lymphomas found throughout China. Salubris CEO, Kevin Ye highlighted, “EBV-driven cancers disproportionately impact patients in China.  We look forward to partnering with Viracta to develop this new treatment option in China. The approach holds the potential to provide a valuable new treatment option for these patients, who currently still face considerable morbidity and mortality.”

“We are committed to bringing our treatment approach to cancer patients around the world,” commented Viracta CEO, Ivor Royston, MD. “We look forward to developing nanatinostat in collaboration with Salubris to address these major healthcare needs in China.”

Under the terms of the license agreement, in addition to the equity investment made by Salubris, Viracta is eligible to receive up to $58 million in pre-commercial milestones as well as significant sales level-triggered commercial milestones and tiered royalties on sales. The Companies will collaborate for clinical development of the treatment approach for viral-associated cancers with Salubris taking on responsibility for development within the Peoples Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan). Viracta retains development responsibility as well as commercial rights outside of China.

About Salubris

Shenzhen Salubris Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. (Salubris) is a publicly traded, fully integrated pharmaceutical company [002294:CH]. Founded in 1998, Salubris has grown to achieve sales of >$750M USD in 2017 (based on 2017 exchange rates). Salubris is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, and has over 4,000 employees working across R&D, regulatory, marketing and sales. Salubris’ marketed and pipeline products include drugs and devices in the cardiovascular, oncology and anti-infective therapeutic areas.

About Viracta

Viracta is a clinical-stage drug development company committed to advancing new medicines based on its unique kick & kill therapeutic approach to benefit patients with viral-associated cancers and other serious diseases.

For press or investor inquiries regarding Viracta, please call (858) 400-8470, or email info@viracta.com. For additional information see www.viracta.com.