Two CNS Acquisitions

Two companies had buyouts announced today: One is clearly good news, the second may be good for shareholders, we are not sure about the ramifications for its CNS work.
1) Newron is acquiring neurogenesis-specialist NeuroNova for about $20 million in Newron stock (33% of the company). In announcing this, there was finally acknowledgement, albeit without detail, that the Phase I/II trial of SN0031 (PDGF) did produce (undefined other than it related to dopaminergic degeneration) biomarker-based hint of concept in Parkinson’s. Thus this program provides an appealing neuroregenerative counterpoint to Newron’s core program, safinamide for PD symptoms. An ALS trial using SNN0029 (VEGF) provided evidence of ‘activity’, and both of these programs are now being prepared for a larger Phase II trial. NeuroNova’s CSO will continue as head of the neurogenesis programs.

2) Instead of being a potential inlicensor in neurology, Proximagen was swallowed up by Upsher-Smith, which had previously partnered two of Proximagen’s programs, for epilepsy and Parkinson’s. The price was $347 million, plus up to $206 million in CVRs attached to two programs: PRX00023 for obesity (similar to Arena’s lorcaserin) and a VAP-1 program for rheumatoid arthritis. The emphasis on those two non-CNS (obesity is on the cusp of CNS) is somewhat worrisome, because it raises the question as to Upsher-Smith’s plans for Proximagen’s several CNS programs, including some joint efforts with Lundbeck. We’ll be curious to see if Lundbeck has any change-of-control options on those joint programs. The Upsher-Smith BOD apparently did comment that Proximagen’s CNS R&D was a focus for them.  It is worth noting that Lundbeck had purchased 9% of Proximagen last year for $16 million, a stake now worth, at least on paper, somewhere between $31 million and $50 million. Lundbeck had made out very well from this transaction.

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