News briefing: Small merger to advance anti-aging program; Sanger Institute spinout nabs $50M from Series C
Small-cap player Akers Biosciences $AKER has engineered a reverse merger with private company MyMD Pharmaceuticals.
The new combined biotech, which will retain the name MyMD, is expected to trade under the new ticker $MYMD once the transaction closes. MyMD will obtain an 80% stake in Akers, and the deal comes with an $18 million private placement that values the Akers at $1.85 per share, a roughly 7.5% premium above Wednesday’s closing price.
MyMD is aiming to focus on its MYMD-1 program, a synthetic plant alkaloid being developed to treat autoimmune and age-related diseases, including aging itself. The company claims the experimental drug is the first oral small molecule regulator of tumor necrosis factor alpha capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier.
Two Phase II trials for the program are expected to begin sometime in the first quarter of 2021, and MyMD seeks to continue launching other Phase II studies throughout the year.
MyMD is also working on its SUPERA-1R platform, which based on a synthetic derivative of CBD that seeks to target key cannabinoid receptors. The company hopes to address anxiety, chronic pain and seizures and is expected to begin human trials as a therapy for epilepsy, followed by chronic pain. — Max Gelman
Sanger Institute spinout gets a $50M Series C
When a handful of entrepreneurs and scientists decided to spin a genomics startup out of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, they had a platform that advanced programmers could use and roughly no one else.
In the six years since, said Congenica CEO David Atkins, they’ve developed software virtually any specialists can use to quickly diagnose rare and ultra-rare diseases and drug developers can use to spot connections between different genes and different symptoms. And now, for the first time, they’ve got a significant amount of cash to expand.
Congenica announced Monday a $50 million Series C led by Tencent and Legal General, more than doubling the amount they cash raised to date. They’ll use the money to expand into diagnostics for cancer — quickly finding genes for targeted therapies — and general wellness, while also continuing their offer on rare disease. So far, they’ve reached clients in 18 different countries.
“When it came out of Sanger, it was a very advanced research software program: the programmers could run it but you couldn’t give it to a third party,” Atkins told Endpoints News. “It’s come a long way.” —Jason Mast