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Pliant Enters into $100 million Loan Facility with Oxford Finance to Support Development of IPF Therapy

May 5, 2022

Pliant Therapeutics said it has entered into a loan facility agreement with Oxford Finance for up to $100 million of non-dilutive financing to support the continued clinical development of PLN-74809, an oral, small molecule, dual selective inhibitor of αvß6 and αvß1 integrins, in the lead indications of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis.

Photo: Keith Cummings, chief financial officer of Pliant Therapeutics

“This non-dilutive facility strengthens our financial position, balances our near-term capital requirements and supports the advancement of our pipeline through multiple near-term clinical milestones,” said Keith Cummings, chief financial officer of Pliant Therapeutics. “With our cash runway now extended to mid-2024, we are focused on delivering the highly anticipated data readouts from our Phase 2a INTEGRIS-IPF and INTEGRIS-PSC trials.”

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a deadly, age-related lung disease of unknown cause with few treatment options. Approximately 60 to 80 percent of patients with IPF die within five years of diagnosis. Patients experience debilitating symptoms, including shortness of breath and difficulty performing routine functions, such as walking and talking. Currently, there is no pharmacological cure for IPF with neither of the approved two therapies demonstrating an ability to stop the progression of IPF.

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PBC) is a rare condition that causes the bile ducts in the liver to become inflamed, damaged, and destroyed. This causes bile, a fluid that helps in digestion, to build up in the liver. This build-up damages the liver over time, eventually causing it to lose its ability to function.

Under the terms of the loan agreement, Pliant drew $10 million of an initial $25 million tranche at closing, with the remaining $15 million available through the end of the year. The company has access to an additional $75 million over three tranches, $50 million of which is based on pre-determined milestones, and $25 million at Oxford’s discretion. The loan carries an interest-only period of 48 months (extendable to 60 months) and total term of 60 months (extendable to 72 months). Interest is based on a floating rate which is subject to both a floor and a cap. There are no warrants or financial covenants in the agreement.

Pliant Therapeutics’ lead drug candidate, PLN-74809, is currently being tested as part of the INTEGRIS-IPF phase 2a clinical trial. Pliant anticipates topline data from this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in patients with IPF, in mid-2022.

As of December 31, 2021, the company had cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $200.6 million. With the initial draw of $10.0 million at closing, Pliant had pro-forma cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments as of December 31, 2021 of $210.6 million. With this facility in place, Pliant expects to be able to fund operations to mid-2024.

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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