Failed NewLink goes dark in a reverse merger, as Lumos jumps on board for a ride to Wall Street
Three years ago shares of NewLink Genetics traveled at a lofty altitude above $50 a share, with some high hopes riding on IDO. Now those hopes have been thoroughly quashed, along with the shares, with a miniaturized market cap of $59 million and a stock price of $1.59. The company founder, Charles Link, left a couple of months ago.
And that makes it a fit vehicle for a reverse merger.
That’s what Lumos Pharma thinks. This morning the company said that they would merge into the public biotech, with a 50/50 share going to investors at each. When it’s over early next year, they’ll rename the company Lumos and trade as $LUMO.
The company plans to keep operations in Austin and Ames, Iowa, where NewLink has done its work. But it will focus primarily on LUM-201, which it hopes to make into “the world’s first oral therapeutic for pediatric growth hormone deficiency.” A Phase IIb is due to open up in the middle of next year, with two other indications in the pipeline. And that’s it, for now.
Stine Seed Farm, the biggest investor in NewLink, signed off on the deal, along with Lumos investors: Deerfield Management, a fund managed by Blackstone Life Sciences, Roche Venture Fund, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Santé Ventures.