Newron Pharmaceuticals Acquires Hunter-Fleming
Milan, Italy â€“ February 11, 2008 - Newron Pharmaceuticals, a research and development company focused on novel Central Nervous System (CNS) and pain therapies, today announces the acquisition of Hunter-Fleming Ltd, a private UK biopharmaceutical company developing new medicines to treat neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders. Consistent with Newronâ€™s growth strategy, the acquisition of Hunter-Fleming enlarges Newronâ€™s clinical-stage pipeline, particularly in the area of neuro-inflammation.
Hunter-Fleming provides a pipeline of three compounds in various phases of clinical development and one in discovery:
Â· HF0220: a broad spectrum neuroprotective agent with
Â· an ongoing phase II safety and tolerability study exploring biological markers in patients with Alzheimerâ€™s disease
Â· a phase II study in rheumatoid arthritis to be initiated in late 2008
Â· HF0420: a low molecular weight oligosaccharide in phase I for prevention of anti-cancer therapy induced neuropathy
Â· HF0299: a naturally occurring human steroid in phase I with potential in the treatment of neuropathic pain
Â· HF1220: a second generation neuroprotective compound series in discovery phase
Newron will also acquire an equity holding in a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set-up to develop a late preclinical compound in asthma.
In addition, Newron will benefit from a team of professionals with significant pharmaceutical industry and neuro-inflammation development experience.
The agreement provides for the acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of Hunter-Fleming. Newron will make an upfront payment of â‚¬8m, minus net debt, for the fully diluted share capital of Hunter-Fleming, in newly issued Newron shares. In addition, success-based milestones related to the Hunter-Fleming programs will be made up to a maximum of â‚¬17m, in newly issued Newron shares. The acquisition is subject to shareholder approval and is expected to close in April.
Dr. Luca Benatti, Newronâ€™s CEO, said: â€œHunter-Fleming represents an excellent opportunity for Newron to expand its late-stage development pipeline, a key element of our strategy for growth. It also enables us to expand our CNS expertise into the area of neuro-inflammation thus broadening our overall CNS knowledge. We are impressed by the quality of Hunter-Flemingâ€™s development compounds, particularly the novelty of HF0220 which could rapidly progress to proof-of-concept trials.â€
Dr. Mike Capaldi, Hunter-Flemingâ€™s CEO, said: â€œWe have a very experienced and talented team who, over the past eight years, have developed a valuable portfolio of compounds. We see this agreement as a fantastic opportunity for realizing the potential of this portfolio within Newron.â€
Dr. David Holbrook, Life Sciences Partner at MTI, Hunter-Flemingâ€™s lead investor, said: â€œThis is a great development in the evolution of Hunter-Fleming in a difficult environment, giving shareholders great upside potential within the wider Newron portfolio.â€
Newron will hold a call to discuss todayâ€™s news at 5:00 pm CET. Dial-in numbers are as follows: European dial-in: +39 02 802 09 11 USA toll free number: +1 866 239 6425
Slides are available at www.newron.com in the Investorsâ€™ section, under Reports, Presentations, Factsheet.
About Newron Pharmaceuticals
Newron Pharmaceuticals S.p.A. (www.newron.com) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on novel therapies for diseases of the Central Nervous System and pain. Newron is undertaking phase III trials with safinamide for the treatment of Parkinsonâ€™s disease (PD) in conjunction with its partner, Merck Serono, which has exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize the compound in PD, AlzheimerÂ´s disease, and other therapeutic applications. Newron is conducting phase II trials with ralfinamide for the treatment of neuropathic and post surgical (dental) pain. A recently completed phase II placebo controlled study in neuropathic pain demonstrated the efficacy of ralfinamide, as well as positive effects on sleep and the ability to perform daily activities. The drug was well tolerated, with side effects comparable to placebo. A phase II study with ralfinamide is ongoing in post surgical (dental) pain.
NewronÂ´s clinical pipeline is supported by a portfolio of early-stage proprietary compounds generated by its ion channel drug discovery platform. Newron is headquartered in Bresso, near Milan, Italy. The company is listed at SWX Swiss Exchange, trading symbol NWRN.
For more information, contact:
Media Investors and analysts Italy Luca Benatti - CEO Phone: +39 02 6103 4 626
UK/Global media Julia Phillips Financial Dynamics Phone: +44 (0) 20 7269 7187
Switzerland Martin Meier-Pfister The Investor Relations Firm AG Phone: +41 43 244 81 40 Stefan Weber - CFO Phone: +39 02 6103 46 30