M&A

Immunotherapy developer Enlivex uses Bioblast shell to reverse merge its way onto Nasdaq

Capping a downward spiral since joining the Nasdaq biotech gold rush in 2014, Bioblast will serve as the shell for the reverse merger of fellow Israeli biotech Enlivex Therapeutics.

Shai Novik

Enlivex will claim both the name and the executive ranks of the combined company, in addition to taking over the board of directors, and trade under a new ticker symbol. Current Enlivex equity holders are expected to own 96% of the new entity, while Bioblast shareholders split the remaining 4%.

Bioblast $ORPN first announced that it was seeking “strategic alternatives” last June, three months after which it was forced to push a five-to-one reverse split to stay afloat. As Enlivex’s pipeline is focused on immune system rebalancing, Bioblast is now in separate negotiations with other companies interested in taking trehalose, its sole drug tackling the ultra-rare oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3.

Both parties will still have the right to call the deal off with a fee, for example if Bioblast receives a better proposal. But for now, the crews seem content with what they have.

“The transaction builds upon our shared vision to develop, advance, and commercialize innovative immunotherapies for patients suffering from serious life threatening diseases such as sepsis, GvHD and solid tumors,” said Enlivex executive chairman Shai Novik.

At the closing of the transaction — expected in the first quarter of 2019 — the new Enlivex expects to be “well financed,” with a cash balance that should cover up to 2.5 years of operations including several planned Phase II trials, the company says.


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