Newron snaps up Karolinska CNS spinoff in $20M buyout deal

Newron Pharmaceuticals seems determined to stay on track to develop a portfolio of CNS drugs despite being abandoned at the M&A altar last fall. The Italian biotech has executed a deal to buy Sweden's NeuroNova in an all-share deal that values the little Karolinska Institutet spinoff at a little less than $20 million. 

The deal clears the way to a mid-stage study of an experimental Parkinson's disease drug as well as a Phase I/II for ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease. NeuroNova's development activities will continue under Anders Haegerstrand, the current CSO of NeuroNova.

"NeuroNova greatly enriches the CNS portfolio of Newron," says Newron CMO Ravi Anand. "sNN0031, a platelet-derived growth factor, stimulates the proliferation of neuronal stem and progenitor cells and improved motor performance in various models of PD, and has shown potentially beneficial effects in patients with PD. sNN029, a vascular endothelial growth factor, is being developed for the treatment of patients with ALS, an orphan indication that results in premature mortality. The compound has been differentiated from other growth factors in models of ALS, and has provided preliminary evidence of activity in patients with ALS. Placebo-controlled PoC trials are in planning for both compounds."

Last October Finland's Biotie called off a deal to buy Newron after Merck Serono decided to give up rights to Newron's Parkinson's drug and lead pipeline contender safinamide.

- here's the press release