Cash-depleted Acerus undergoes strategic review to stay afloat

A month after Acerus Pharmaceuticals announced the resignation of its chief financial officer, the company says it's undergoing a strategic review to stay afloat. 

Details were few and far between from the sexual health company, which said in a release Wednesday that it will “undertake a strategic review of capital and business alternatives” including equity financing, M&A and licensing. Acerus has brought on EY as a financial adviser as it shops around and placed a deadline on potential suitors to submit nonbinding letters of interest by Oct. 26.

It’s a clear-eyed disclosure from Acerus, which has been looking to relaunch Noctiva, a nasal spray that treats the urge to urinate in the middle of the night. The company got a hold of the med when it acquired Serenity Pharmaceuticals in March but has had to push back relaunching plans until the first quarter of 2023. 

The strategic review is the latest shake-up a months after Acerus announced its chief financial officer, Robert Motz, would resign in November. In June, the company said it needed to extend the deadline for upfront payment to Serenity by one month while it secured additional cash.

Even amid these financial struggles, the company has remained outwardly bullish on its future prospects, namely the growth of its low testosterone drug Natesto. Acerus says prescriptions of the the nasal gel rose 47% year to year in the second quarter

The name of the game for Acerus has been building a pipeline of sexual health assets that have already nabbed approval. More than four years ago, the company acquired the Canadian rights to erectile dysfunction med Stendra, which was approved by the FDA in 2012. 

But the reality is that the company is running out of money fast. It reported just $1.3 million in cash at the end of June and said it incurred nearly $8 million in losses in the quarter. It's only been able to stay afloat so far through advances from First Generation Capital, a company “affiliated with the chairman of the doard of directors of Acerus.”