Obliterated by Alzheimer's failure, Neurotrope relinquishes its Nasdaq spot in reverse merger
Battered after a spectacular failure with its Alzheimer’s drug candidate, Neurotrope Biosciences is being absorbed by a privately-held company that makes an erectile dysfunction (ED) treatment.
Stendra maker Metuchen Pharmaceuticals, which was censured by the FDA last year for making misleading claims about its ED therapy, is vaulting on to the Nasdaq following the all-stock merger with Neurotrope, under a new name: Petros (the Greek word for “rock”).
Petros is set to be a men’s health company, with its flagship Stendra drug (which generated roughly $30 million last year) as well as a pipeline that includes a recently in-licensed product for Peyronie’s disease, a non-cancerous condition that emerges as a result of fibrous scar tissue that causes curved, painful erections.
Under the deal, which has been approved by both boards and is expected to close in the third quarter, Metuchen shareholders (Juggernaut Capital Partners have the principal stake) will own the majority 80% of the combined company, while Neurotrope stakeholders will have the remainder.
Once consummated, Neurotrope’s CEO Charles Ryan is set to become Petros’ chief and relaunch Stendra. Petros will also have access to Neurotrope’s roughly $20 million in available cash and cash equivalents, while Neurotrope’s setback-marred neurodegeneration compound Bryostatin-1, assets, and liabilities will be spun out into a separately-traded company.
Last September, the experimental drug failed to do better than the placebo in a mid-stage study involving moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s patients. In fact, the drug arm did a little worse than a sugar pill in the key study, marking yet another example of failure in the arduous field of Alzheimer’s drug development. The company’s shares $NTRP cratered as a result, hitting a low of $1.
However, in January, the company said a posthoc analysis of the study suggested the drug could be resurrected for use in Alzheimer’s and unveiled a $2.7 million grant from the NIH to take the program forward. The move delighted, causing the stock to more than double.