One foot in biotech graveyard, NeuroSearch is calling it quits

Three years ago Denmark's NeuroSearch had more than 200 busy employees working on a pipeline of new drugs, including a late-stage drug for Huntington's disease. Today, it's laying off most of the small group of staffers who remain, whittling the employee roster to a bare skeleton as it prepares to auction off the furniture and its remaining CNS drug assets.

In early 2010, the future seemed bright to NeuroSearch's investors when the company reported positive Phase III data on a Huntington's disease drug, Huntexil. Patients in the study, the company claimed, demonstrated a significant improvement in motor function. And their shares zoomed up 81% in minutes as analysts speculated about a 2011 launch date. Those dreams, though, were zapped by the news weeks later that an additional assessment of the data changed the numbers--and they were no longer statistically significant, according to a report from the InVivo Blog.

The layoffs started soon after that. And they kept coming, as the biotech tried to rescue a failing drug. Last fall, NeuroSearch--which once enjoyed pacts with the likes of J&J and Astellas--struck a deal transferring the drug to Teva, and there's not much left to do but auction off what remains and close the doors for good.

There are three clinical stage assets left, and some potential milestones from Teva ($TEVA) on Huntexil. If you're interested, you can bid on:

  • Tesofensine for the treatment of obesity (completed Phase II)
  • Seridopidine for the treatment of CNS diseases  (completed Phase I)
  • Ordopidine for the treatment of CNS diseases (completed Phase I)

"NeuroSearch will take preparatory steps to wind up the remaining activities and settle the company's obligations to be able to return available cash to the shareholders, possibly after a solvent liquidation process which is to be decided upon at a later Extraordinary General Meeting," the company said in a statement. "At present, it is neither possible to provide more information on the time horizon nor on the possible size of such payment."

- here's the release

Special Report: The 2012 Biotech Graveyard