Daré does a reverse merger with an ailing Cerulean; Pulmocide raises $30.4M for RSV therapy

→ Daré Bioscience is the latest biotech to pull off a reverse merger. The company is taking over Cerulean, leaving it with a majority of the stock and a listing on Nasdaq for its women’s health effort. Cerulean, meanwhile, sold CRLX101 and CRLX301 to a subsidiary of NewLink and laid off 11 staffers, leaving 8 employees. Last summer Cerulean’s lead drug went 0 for 2 in mid-stage trials, blasting any remaining hope of success and forcing the company to lay off half of its staff.

→ The UK’s Pulmocide has raised a $30.4 million B round. The money will be earmarked for its R&D work on a new therapy for RSV as well as pulmonary aspergillosis. New investor SR One led the round in a syndicate that included Longwood Fund plus existing investors SV Life Sciences, F-Prime Capital, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. and Touchstone Innovations plc. “This Series B fundraising will provide us with the capital to advance our two novel compounds through early clinical development; another step closer to a treatment for patients for these debilitating infections,” said CEO Garth Rapeport.

→ Waltham, MA-based X-Chem has forged a drug discovery collaboration with Astellas Pharma, bagging a $16 million upfront. Milestone payments range up to $100 million on each program.

→ France’s AB Sciences saw its shares bounce higher this morning after announcing that a Phase II/III study of masitinib hit the primary endpoint for ALS. The company, though, has some credibility issues after the EMA rejected a pair of cancer applications for the same drug, citing problems with the trials used to gather data.

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