Ruthigen plans clinical trials after IPO

SANTA ROSA -- Having raised a net $15.4 million after its initial public offering and related expenses, Santa Rosa-based Ruthigen (Nasdaq: RTGN) will now be able to fully fund the first two phases of clinical trials for a preventative antibiotic treatment designed for use in surgery and wound care, said chief executive Hojabr "Hoji" Alimi.

[caption id="attachment_90397" align="alignleft" width="214"] Hoji Alimi[/caption]

If successful, those trials will pave the way for further tests and potential approval of the company's so-called "RUT58-60" treatment for widespread use in the United States in 2018, he said. The product would be applied directly to a surgical area or wound, and has shown promise in preventing infection from treatment-resistant bacteria and a broad spectrum of other strains.

"Now we have sufficient funding to complete our phase one and two clinical trials," Mr. Alimi said.

Ruthigen became an independent company through its March IPO, which raised a total of $19.2 million, he said. The company was announced in January 2013 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Petaluma's Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: OCLS), which first developed RUT58-60.

The former subsidiary operates with an exclusive license for RUT58-60, a hypochlorous acid-basic compound, from Oculus. Oculus continues to own approximately 48 percent of the company's shares following the IPO.

Phase 1/2 clinical trials are expected to begin in July of this year, with results announced in the first quarter of 2015, Mr. Alimi said.

Ruthigen, which had six employees as of March 1, plans to first seek FDA approval for abdominal surgery applications of the RUT58-60 compound. Those uses could expand to cardiac, spinal and other applications in the future, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company originally planned to raise up to $26.7 million in its public offering, but ultimately revised that target to $19.2 million. Ruthigen sold 2.65 million shares, up from approximately 1.5 million planned in late 2013.

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