NeuroRX completes SPAC merger at $1.5b valuation

The Israeli company, which is developing drugs for the treatment of Covid respiratory failure and suicidal bipolar depression, has begun trading on Nasdaq as NrX Pharmaceuticals.

Israeli drug developer NeuroRX has announced the completion of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger with US company Big Rock Partners Acquisition Corporation (Nasdaq: BRPAU). The deal reflects a company valuation of $1.5 billion for NeuroRX and the company will have cash totaling $140 million after the merger. The merged company has begun trading on Nasdaq as NrX Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: NRXP).

NeuroRX's shareholders will hold 93% of the merged company. NeuroRX was founded by chairman and CEO Dr. Jonathan Javitt and his brother Prof. Daniel Javitt , who invented the company's technology, who both held a 50% stake in NeuroRX before the merger, and their stake in the company will be worth about $700 million after the merger. The company currently has no plans to issue new shares nor do existing shareholders have plans to sell shares.

NeuroRX has developed two main treatments. The first, called Zyesami is designed to treat respiratory failure in the advanced and most difficult stages of Covid. The drug is in Phase III clinical trials and the company plans submitting it for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency approval before the trial is completed. The aim is to file for approval in about one month. Swiss company Relief Therapeutics, which has partnered NeurRX in developing the drug, is traded on the Swiss stock market with a market cap of about $700 million.

In a trial, the company was asked to show a reduction in mortality from coronavirus due to its drug but was unable to demonstrate this among a group of patients although it did succeed in reducing the number of days spent in hospital, and effectiveness in other parameters such as the number of days to recover. The company is now conducting a trial of the drug on less seriously ill patients.

NeuroRX's second product is a drug for suicidal bipolar depression. This is also described as a breakthrough product by the FDA so that it is expected to follow a sort-track approval process. The drug has already successfully passed Phase II trials, which showed patients remaining in remission from depression for longer after using ketamine, compared with the control group.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on May 31, 2021

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