Sector News

Aerpio may hang the ‘for sale’ sign up, axes CEO after eye drug flop

October 21, 2019
Life sciences

In a classic plot line for biotechs, Aerpio Pharmaceuticals is seeking a “strategic review” for its business and assets after being hit by a trial failure for its leading med earlier this year.

The micro-cap biotech, with a market cap worth less than $20 million and trading in penny stock territory, said its board is “exploring the potential for an acquisition, company sale, merger, business combination, asset sale, in-license, out-license or other strategic transaction.” The chief executive, Michael Rogers, is also out the door.

Aerpio added that it “does not intend to make any further disclosures regarding the strategic review process unless and until a specific course of action is approved,” so don’t expect any more press releases until some sort of deal is done—or not, as the case may be.

As well as looking to potentially sell off some or all of the company, Aerpio’s already slimming down, or, as it puts it, “streamlin(ing) operations in order to preserve its capital and cash resources.” It had under $50 million at last count in June.

Joseph Gardner, Ph.D., its current president (and founding CEO of Akebia Therapeutics), will now lead the dwindling C-suite team as Rogers alongside Chief Financial Officer Stephen Hoffman “have transitioned from their roles,” the biotech said in a brief update.

Back in May, shares in Aerpio were more than halved after the failure of its leading drug candidate.

The midstage test, known as the TIME-2b study, was assessing its drug AKB-9778 in diabetic retinopathy but missed its primary endpoint of a two-step reduction in its diabetic retinopathy severity score score when pitted against a dummy treatment.

The percentage of patients achieving this endpoint for the injectable AKB-9778 twice daily and placebo were 9.6% and 3.8%, respectively (p=0.270). Across all eyes, those achieving this endpoint was 8.6% and 2.7%, for AKB-9778 BID and placebo, respectively (p=0.158). That was a hard fail, and one that sent its shares into a free fall from which it has not recovered.

By Ben Adams

Source: Fierce Biotech

comments closed

Related News

December 5, 2021

Catherine Mazzacco is leaving the position as President and CEO of LEO Pharma

Life sciences

After more than two years of leading LEO Pharma through a major transformation and a change of capital structure in a volatile environment during the global pandemic, the Board of Directors of LEO Pharma and President and CEO Catherine Mazzacco have jointly agreed that she will resign from her current role and leave the company on November 30, 2021.

December 5, 2021

Lonza and Bioqube Ventures to scale biologics and small molecules

Life sciences

Lonza and Bioqube Ventures, a European venture capital firm with a dual investment model including venture creation, have partnered to develop and manufacture biologics and small molecules. This is a five-year services agreement in which Lonza will provide advice and services to Bioqube Ventures’ portfolio companies.

December 5, 2021

UCB and Chiesi enter global license agreement for zampilimab a novel monoclonal antibody for fibrotic lung diseases

Life sciences

UCB has granted to Chiesi global exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize zampilimab, a monoclonal antibody targeting transglutaminase 2 (TG2), an enzyme associated in fibrotic diseases. UCB will receive upfront payment, future milestone payments and net sales royalties.

Send this to a friend