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BioZone merges with Washington antiviral company

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BioZone Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Englewood Cliffs-based maker of health, beauty and drug products, has agreed to merge with Washington-based biotech Cocrystal Discovery Inc., a company specializing in antiviral medicines.

The deal is expected to close at the end of 2013. The transaction is structured as a reverse merger with the surviving corporation, Cocrystal Pharma Inc, headquartered in Bothell, Washington, according to a news release.

BioZone Pharmaceuticals manufactures over-the-counter drugs and cosmetic and beauty products on behalf of third parties. The profitable company reports about $5.7 million in revenue year to date and employs 69 people.

Cocrystal Chief Executive Gary Wilcox will continue in that role for the combined company.

"We believe this merger will significantly enhance our ability to bring our small molecule inhibitors of the viral replication complex to market," Wilcox, a former Eli Lilly executive, said in a statement.

Cocrystal has five therapeutic programs targeting Hepatitis C virus, influenza, the common cold, dengue, and the norovirus. The companies say the market for treating Hepatitis C is expected to grow from $6 billion in 2012 to $20 billion in 2020.

Cocrystal is targeting two Hepatitis C replication enzymes. Cocrystal says its programs on influenza, common cold, dengue, and norovirus also target unmet multi-billion dollar market opportunities.

Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of BioZone Pharmaceuticals and Cocrystal Discovery will own about 40 percent and 60 percent of the combined company, respectively.

Nobel Prize winner Dr. Roger Kornberg will remain chief scientist with the combined company.

PREVIOUSLY: Biozone announces multi-million dollar asset sale, eyes acquisition targets


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