Israeli drug development company Enlivex Therapeutics (Nasdaq: ENLV), which is developing a treatment for graft versus host disease, a deadly side effect of bone marrow transplants, has announced the completion of its merger into Nasdaq stock exchange shell Bioblast Pharma.
As part of the maneuver, the company raised $5.3 million at $12.25 per share, 6% higher than the market price when the deal was closed. The company value following the merger and after money will be $120 million (Bioblast's market cap was $5 million). Since last September, Enlivex has raised $10.6 million, including the current round.
Enlivex was founded on the basis of technology developed at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem as part of Hadasit Bio-Holdings, Ltd. (HBL) (TASE: HDST; OTCBB: HADSY), the technology commercialization company of Hadassah Medical Center, which held its IPO on the TASE in 2007. Following the merger deal, HBL will hold 18% of the merged company. Businessperson Vincent Tchenguiz, who leads HBL (38.72%), together with Hadasit R&D (27.4%), hailed the merger, saying, "We have been accompanying the group from the beginning, and believe in the activity of the companies and the developments that Enlivex is leading. The merger will generate value for the shareholders on both sides."
Enlivex's product balances the immune system activity in cases in which it gets out of control. In graft versus host disease, the immune cells in the patient's transplanted tissue classify it as a foreign body and attack it. In the formulation for complications following bone marrow transplant, the company is preparing to begin a Phase II/III trials. The product is likely to also be suitable for treatment of sepsis, a multi-system failure caused by over-reaction to infection by the immune system. In this formulation, the product is in a Phase Ib/II clinical trial.
Enlivex said that it would also continue developing its product for other diseases linked to undesirable activity by the immune system.
In 2014, Shai Novik, former president of Prolor Biotech (sold to US company Opko Health for $480 million), led an investment in Enlivex. Novik was appointed chairperson of Enlivex following the investment, and announced his intention of leading the company to Nasdaq, which is now taking place. Enlivex's CEO is Dr. Shmuel Hess.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 27, 2019
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