Finns do some southern shopping
Milan/Turku – Biotie Therapies ASA’s announcement that it had signed an agreement to acquire Newron Pharmaceuticals S.p.A. for €45m is both good and bad news for the Italian biotechnology sector. While Italy is losing one of its most dynamic biotech companies, at least the deal is also proof that Italian innovative companies are attractive at a European level. Biotie wants to create a leading European biopharmaceutical company focused on central nervous system (CNS) drug development. The deal is being touted as a European Union cross-border merger. Biotie will issue Newron shareholders close to 90 million initial consideration shares, with an option for more if specific milestones are reached. According to Biotie, the transaction creates a “deep pipeline” led by two drugs – nalmefene and safinamide – both in late-stage Phase III development, targeting alcohol dependence and Parkinson’s disease respectively. Biotie President and CEO Timo Veromaa is especially excited about safinamide, “a compelling late-stage asset with potential for significant near-term milestones.” In the short-term, Biotie hopes to cash in on two other substances for the CNS market.