MORRISVILLE, NC (February 20, 2012) – Neuronex announces the signing of a merger agreement with Acorda Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ACOR) that, if completed, would result in full acquisition by Acorda and potential payments to Neuronex equity holders of over $100 million. A closing of the agreement will mark the second successful exit for the entrepreneurial drug development management team.
The signing of the agreement entitled Neuronex to an initial payment of $2 million upon signing of the agreement and $500,000 of up to $1.2 million for research and development costs prior to closing. In addition, Neuronex equity holders would be entitled to receive $6.8 million in connection with closing of the agreement, and after closing up to $18 million with the achievement of regulatory and manufacturing milestones. Neuronex equity holders would also be entitled to receive up to $105 million in sales milestones plus a tiered royalty-like earnout payment on sales ranging from upper single digits to low double digits.
Neuronex, launched in 2010, was primarily funded by a Chattanooga based angel group that also participated in the team’s previous company Addrenex Pharmaceuticals, and loans from the NC Biotechnology Center. The company is developing a proprietary nasal spray formulation of diazepam, licensed from SK Biopharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., to be used as rescue medication in patients with certain seizure disorders. The product, if approved, would meet a significant unmet need for patients. Currently the only available treatment for breakthrough seizures is a rectally delivered diazepam gel formulation.
Neuronex is the second of three companies, all privately held and located in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park region, formed by a management team lead by Chief Executive Officer Dr. Moise Khayrallah.
“Our approach is to rapidly bring innovative drugs to market to improve patients’ lives and enable our investors to achieve a positive return. I am proud to say that we are progressing quickly to achieve our goal again through this merger announcement and potential acquisition by Acorda Therapeutics,” said Dr. Khayrallah. Addrenex Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company that developed a robust pipeline of four drugs over three years, was acquired by Shionogi Pharma in November 2009 through a $29 million transaction in which investors received multiple returns on their investment in less than three years. Aerial BioPharma, founded in January 2011, is focused on developing biologics and small molecules to treat conditions of the Central Nervous System. Its pipeline includes a product in Phase II for the treatment of narcolepsy and a pre-clinical biologic licensed out of UNC Chapel Hill being developed for both acute and chronic pain conditions. In addition to seed funding from the management team, early funding for Aerial has come from angel groups in Chattanooga and Raleigh.
“The team’s clinical expertise and thorough knowledge of the drug development process enables us to identify and develop drug candidates for indications with a high probability of technical success and a clear development and regulatory path to approval,” Khayrallah said. “We have continued to combine good science with clinical intuition and seasoned industry experience to ensure that Aerial is already off to a fast start.” Advisors to Neuronex include the investment bank Peter J. Solomon and Hutchison Law Group.
Neuronex Inc. is a focused, specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes drugs to treat central nervous system diseases and disorders. Neuronex is based in Morrisville, N.C., on the edge of Research Triangle Park. For more information, visit www.neuronexinc.com
About Aerial BioPharma
Aerial BioPharma is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing biologics and small molecules for conditions in the Central Nervous System. Aerial is based in Morrisville, N.C., on the edge of Research Triangle Park. For more information, visit www.aerialbio.com.