Melinta will beef up its antibiotics pipeline after a merger with troubled Cempra

David Zaccardelli, Cempra. Credit: University of Michigan

Just weeks after Melinta Therapeutics completed an R&D odyssey with an FDA approval for the antibiotic delafloxacin (Baxdela), the biotech has struck a deal to merge troubled Cempra $CEMP into the company, taking over its antibiotics pipeline and one approved therapy.

Melinta investors  — who come out of the deal with a public listing on Nasdaq — will wind up just barely on top, with 52% of the shares in the combined operation, which retains the Melinta name.

Cempra shares have been beaten down over the last seven months. At the beginning of the day, its market cap was pegged at under $200 million, less than the cash it had on hand at the end of last year. The biotech brought in Morgan Stanley for a strategic review in March, months after it was handed a rejection for its lead antibiotic solithromycin after regulators concluded, to no one’s surprise, that the company would need to run a safety study before they could reconsider offering marketing approval to an antibiotic tied to clear signs of liver toxicity.

“The combined company’s extensive pipeline, including commercial, clinical and preclinical stage anti-infective programs with multiple products in development across several indications, provides an exceptional platform to deliver potential long-term growth and value for shareholders,” said David Zaccardelli, acting chief executive officer of Cempra.

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