Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to find budding Rule Breakers reveals aid for AIDS sufferers and a raven stalking California.
We begin this week with Virxsys, a clinical-stage gene therapy company. VentureWire reports that the company has raised $31 million in late-stage funding -- the first such funding it has received from venture capitalists -- in the hopes of bringing its treatment for HIV through phase two human clinical trials.
But as fellow Fool and Rule Breakers biotech analyst Charly Travers is wont to say, these kinds of firms really are a dime a dozen. That may be the case here, too, although I don't think so. The approach is too novel. Specifically, Virxsys claims that it can cripple the virus so that a body can deal with it. That's accomplished, VentureWire says, by rendering HIV ineffective in attacking the CD4-type T-cells that direct the human immune system and which are the primary target of the virus. Certainly, that's a fundamentally different approach than the one that much-hypedPanacosPharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: PANC ) is pursuing. Provided it proves to be marketable and effective, Virxsys' Rule Breaking idea might fall in similarly Rule-Breaking territory.
We'll stay in the biotech industry for our next Baby Breaker: Raven Biotechnologies, which is using stem cells to develop drugs for the treatment of cancer. VentureWire says Raven's approach is to use cancerous stem cell lines -- it has already identified more than 30 -- to refine targeting techniques. I find that remarkably Rule Breaking.
Yet it may prove just a little too rebellious. After all, there are numerous lawsuits challenging the stem cell initiative -- otherwise known as Proposition 71 -- in Raven's home state of California. And there's also plenty risk in development. (Seriously, just askViaCell (Nasdaq: VIAC ) what it thinks.) Finally, competition is emerging from all corners. Aastrom Biosciences (Nasdaq: ASTM ) , StemCells (Nasdaq: STEM ) , and Rule Breaker Universe member Geron (Nasdaq: GERN ) . At the very least, this will be a very interesting company to watch.
Sadly, there were no Baby Breaker public offerings this week, which means it's time to say good-bye for now. See you back here next Friday when we continue the quest for the next ultimate growth stock.
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Fool contributor Tim Beyers figures he'll never be too old for the classics of Edgar Allan Poe. (Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.") Tim didn't own stock in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile here. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.