Two Swiss biotech companies Arpida and Evolva have announced plans to merge subject to definitive agreement and shareholder approval.

The merger will provide access to the public capital market, providing a major boost to the company’s profile and drug pipeline.

Lead clinical candidates that will benefit from the merger include EV-077 for renal disease and arterial thrombosis, now in Phase I, and EV-086 for systemic and other fungal infections, which is scheduled to enter Phase I early in 2010.

EV-075, a programme for influenza and Ebola, is also in late-stage pre-clinic and expected to enter Phase I in 2010.

Evolva is backed by a group of venture investors, including Novartis Venture, Aravis, Sunstone Capital and Dansk Innovations. It has 75 employees, 30 of whom are located in Basel.

Arpida chairman Andre Lamotte said that after discussions with several interested parties, Arpida’s board and management have concluded that a tie-up with Evolva is the most promising option.

The company said that the intended merger is not expected to affect Arpida and Evolva employees.