Biotie Therapies to acquire Newron for €45m

Will continue to focus on CNS drug development

Biotie Therapies of Finland is to buy Italian biopharmaceutical firm Newron Pharmaceuticals for €45m.

Bresso-based Newron will be merged into Turku-based Biotie and all of its assets, rights, debts and other liabilities transferred to Biotie.

The deal will create a pipeline with two drugs, Biotie’s leading product nalmefene (for treating alcohol dependence) and Newron’s safinamide (for treating Parkinson’s disease), in late-stage Phase III development.

Biotie will continue to focus on developing drugs for CNS and selected inflammatory diseases.

Timo Veromaa, president and ceo of Biotie, who will continue in his current role, said Newron Pharmaceuticals has a considerable presence in the CNS area and a compelling late-stage asset in safinamide with potential for significant near-term milestones.

‘We see this transaction as a win-win for both companies’ shareholders and it confirms Biotie as a key consolidator of high-quality CNS assets,’ he said.

Luca Benatti, managing director and chief executive of Newron, will continue to lead Newron through to the closure of the deal, after which he will leave to pursue other opportunities.

‘We have been working hard to find the right partner and in Biotie we believe we have the best combination to create a European entity with critical mass to ensure that our pipeline will generate value for our shareholders,’ he said.

The transaction is subject to the approval of the EGM of Newron, which will take place at the end of next month.

At closure, Stefan Weber, Newron’s chief financial officer, will join the management team of Biotie.

The transaction is not expected to affect Biotie’s operations or organisations in Finland and in the US. The structure of the Newron organisation in Italy and Switzerland will be reviewed and restructuring is planned.

As at 30 June 2011, Biotie employed 39 people and Newron, 29.