BioTie backs out of $63M Newron Pharma buyout

Newron Pharmaceuticals has been left at the altar. Finland's BioTie has decided to nix plans to acquire Newron after Merck Serono decided to give up rights to Newron's Parkinson's drug and lead pipeline contender safinamide. The latest bad news for Milan, Italy-based Newron sent its shares down more than 10% this morning on the Swiss stock exchange.

BioTie, which announced plans in late September to scoop up Newron in a $63 million stock deal, said in a statement today that Merck Serono's action on the Parkinson's program "constitutes a material adverse effect, giving BioTie the right but not the obligation to terminate the merger plan and the combination agreement." The agreement also gives BioTie the right to collect a 1.5 million euro breakup fee from struggling Newron.

Newron has come out with its own release to put its spin on the bad news. The company plans to persist with its late-stage Parkinson's program, with results from two Phase III trials of its experimental drug safinamide expected next year. Merck Serono, a unit of Germany's Merck KGaA, decided to break ties with the program earlier this month, saying that the commercial prospects of the drug weren't as good as the company once thought. Meanwhile, Newron has tapped the advisory group JSB Partners to help look for new options for the program.

"Regaining the global commercial rights to safinamide provides Newron the opportunity to pursue all strategic options, Luca Benatti, Newron's CEO, said in a statement. "We estimate that the registration dossier will be ready for submission to health authorities in key world markets by the end of 2012. To companies with commercial capabilities this offers an extremely attractive opportunity in a focused specialist market."

-here's BioTie's statement
-get Newron's release here
-and see GEN's coverage

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