Drug Development

Death watch: Epirus Bio joins the growing list of biotech failures headed for the scrap heap

Ex-Epirus Biopharmaceuticals CEO Amit Munshi landed his new job at the helm of Arena Pharmaceuticals just in time.

On Friday, in the leadup to the July 4th weekend, 5AM partner and stand-in Epirus $EPRS CEO Scott Rocklage signed off on an 8K noting that the company is prepping for Chapter 7 liquidation under federal bankruptcy laws as it sets the stage for an “orderly wind down” in the next three months.

With money running out, no one coming to the deal table and no progress making a last-ditch effort to transform itself into a rare-disease company, Epirus – which had set out to build a biosimilar company developing knockoffs of some big blockbusters for niche markets – has no room left to maneuver.

“Despite concerted efforts, EPIRUS has been unable to secure any buyers for its suspended programs (BOW015 (infliximab, reference biologic Remicade), BOW050 (adalimumab, reference biologic Humira) and BOW070 (tocilizumab, reference biologic Actemra)), and has been unable to secure any strategic partners for its rare disease programs,” the company says in its SEC filing.

Epirus shares, already in penny stock territory, slid 19 cents this morning to a meager 27 cents per share.

Amit Munshi, via LinkedIn

Amit Munshi, via LinkedIn

Arena announced on May 9 that Munshi was being named its new CEO, three days after he resigned from Epirus and the same day Rocklage laid off about 30 employees in an attempt to steer clear of the rocks. On Thursday, as Epirus was taking steps to shut down, Munshi was laying off 100 staffers at the troubled Arena.

After getting hammered for months on Wall Street, biotechs in crisis have had little financial room to maneuver. Forum Pharmaceuticals reportedly closed its doors last week, troubled Bind Therapeutics is setting up an auction of its assets for later in the month and Eleven Bio has been disposing of assets after back-to-back Phase III flops for its lead drug. The list of failed biotechs in the wake of the big boom of 2012-2015 can only grow longer.

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