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UPDATED: BioCryst Pharma, Presidio ax merger deal after series of setbacks

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Ever since BioCryst Pharmaceuticals ($BCRX) and Presidio Pharmaceuticals agreed to a $101 million merger deal in October, BioCryst has suffered a string of pipeline disasters. This morning Presidio and BioCryst revealed that the companies have come to a "mutual" decision to kill the merger agreement that was seen as a way for BioCryst to raise its holdings in the hot market for hepatitis C drugs.

BioCryst is expected to talk about its predicament during a conference call slated for 10 a.m. Eastern time on Dec. 7, when management could give investors an idea of their next move. Its shares were up 6.25% to $1.70 per share in premarket trading. The agreement to nix the merger looks like a clean break for both companies, with both sides releasing the other from all obligations and handling its own legal costs.

After inking the merger deal with BioCryst last month, Presidio saw the stature of its suitor shrink. Here's a look at the series of unfortunate events that befell BioCryst after the deal was signed:

  • Less than a month after agreeing to combine hep C pipelines with Presidio, BioCryst said in late October that it nixed plans for an early-stage trial of its experimental NS5B inhibitor BCX5191 amid concerns from U.S. regulators about the toxicity of the compound.
  • Earlier this month, Durham, NC-based BioCryst's late-stage study of its flu drug peramivir went down in flames after an interim analysis prompted trial monitors to recommend terminating the trial, for which the chances of success appeared to be nil. BioCryst hit the brakes on enrollment and its medical chief said further study of the flu med was "unlikely."
  • As if those pratfalls weren't enough, days ago BioCryst announced that the FDA slapped a clinical hold on development of BCX4161 for hereditary angioedema. Regulators raised red flags over plans for compounding the drug at study sites.

We'll see what management has to say about what happens next week.

- here's the release

Related Articles:
BioCryst scraps $235M late-stage flu drug program backed by feds
BioCryst scoops up early-stage hep C drugs in $101M Presidio acquisition
Hep C drug deal frenzy can't be slowed by growing doubts

Editor's note: The date of BioCryst's conference call is Dec. 7, not today. This article has been corrected. We apologize for the confusion.

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