Brief

Amarantus creates spinouts in restructuring

Dive Brief:

  • US biotech holding company Amarantus BioScience has created two spin-offs; Elto Pharma focusing on central nervous system disease and MANF Therapeutics working in eye disorders.
  • Elto Pharma will focus on the further development of the Phase 2 drug eltoprazine in adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Alzheimer's disease-associated aggression and levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease.
  • The aim of MANF Therapeutics will be to move Amarantus' in-house mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) program through pre-clinical development in retinitis pigmentosa, retinal artery occlusion and glaucoma, as well as Parkinson's disease. MANF Therapeutics will also have rights to Amarantus' proprietary PhenoGuard protein discovery engine.

Dive Insight:

Amarantus Bioscience is in the midst of a strategic restructuring plan, funded by $100,000 from investor XPress Group International, which includes the spinout of the two new companies. This follows the issue of a secured convertible note, worth $250,000 to XPress in November 2016. Heng Fai Chan, the controlling shareholder of Amarantus, is also the sole shareholder of XPress.

The next step for Elto Pharma will be an analysis of the competitive landscape and market need for each of the three key indications – adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Alzheimer's disease-associated aggression and levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease – for eltoprazine, before choosing the lead focus for further clinical trials.

MANF Therapeutics' mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor has been tested in animal models. The company will seek funding for cGMP manufacturing for human grade MANF to begin IND-enabling studies and clinical trials.

Amarantus retains its engineered skin substitute, a full thickness skin replacement product prepared from the patient's own skin cells cultured in combination with a collagen-dermal fibroblast implant, as part of its regenerative medicine program. This has been studied in investigator-initiated trials in patients with up to 95% burns, mostly in children. The engineered skin substitute, brought in when Amarantus acquired Cutanogen from Lonza Walkersville, has U.S. orphan drug designation for hospitalized patients with deep partial and full thickness burns requiring grafting. The skin substitute is going to enter Phase 2 under a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Army.

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Filed Under: Mergers and Acquisitions / Deals
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