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New biotech firm to focus on antiviral drugs


Montreal, QC – April 8, 2004 – A new antiviral drug research and development company announced its arrival today. The new company, called ViroChem Pharma, also said it has completed a $36.5 million private placement led by Picchio Pharma.

The company originates from a core team of scientists working until very recently at Shire BioChem. ViroChem says it also acquired from Shire BioChem certain intellectual property relating to its therapeutics research and preclinical development projects and equipment used by its research team at its Laval facilities.

“We are enthusiastic about reinitiating the promising antiviral projects which were ongoing at Shire BioChem,” says Dr Gervais Dionne, CEO and chief scientific officer of the company. “We believe that ViroChem possesses all the ingredients to position itself as a significant player in the antiviral arena."

The company says it will initially focus its R&D efforts on HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C and already has a number of projects at different stages ranging from lead optimization to pre-clinical development stages. It will have a team of over 40 scientists advancing its projects.