Mereo reverse merges with a flailing OncoMed and preps for a back flip onto Nasdaq
Long after the bright lights had dimmed and the marquee partners had largely slipped away from OncoMed $OMED, the California biotech has one last role to play.
The company, with a market cap that had dwindled to less than cash, has become a reverse merger vehicle for the UK’s Mereo, which will now do a back flip onto Nasdaq as the market remains turbulent. Mereo — which is listed on the London exchange, something of a backwater these days — had taken a shot at a US IPO in better days, though, dropping out of the queue last spring.
In preparation for the reverse merger, OncoMed is shedding everything but a core group of staffers to maintain operations until Mereo can complete the deal, with a “significant reduction in its workforce.”
This is the latest in a series of reverse mergers using the shell of near-dead companies. Arsanis opened its doors to X4 recently, with Edge Therapeutics and Bioblast playing similar roles.
Mereo — helmed by Denise Scots-Knight — will be left in total control, with a plan to try and coax support from the investment community as it jettisons OncoMed’s remaining lead drug.
During 2019 we continue to expect several value inflection points, including data from our Phase 2b dose ranging study for BPS-804 for osteogenesis imperfecta and data from our Phase 2 dose ranging study for MPH-966 for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency both being run in the US and Europe. Alongside these milestones, we are also progressing partnering discussions for our other two products, BCT-197 for acute exacerbations of COPD and BGS-649 for hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. We also intend to begin partnering discussions for OncoMed’s navicixizumab programme, which has generated encouraging clinical data in ovarian cancer that should guide further clinical development.
Celgene evidently retains one last option on an OncoMed drug. Two months ago Celgene cut loose from navicixizumab as OncoMed struggled to survive.