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THE INVESTOR
August 23, 2019
Big Reunion

Deals

S. Korean VC-backed NeuroBo merges with Nasdaq-listed Gemphire

  • PUBLISHED :July 25, 2019 - 15:06
  • UPDATED :July 25, 2019 - 15:13
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Boston-based NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals, which is backed by a South Korean venture capital firm, said July 25 that it is merging with Nasdaq-listed Gemphire Therapeutics.

Gemphire is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies for the treatment of dyslipidemia as well as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. NeuroBo, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on novel, disease-modifying therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, has been seeking to be listed on Nasdaq since March this year. 

Following the merger, Gemphire will change its name to NeuroBo Pharmaceuticals and its ticker symbol on the Nasdaq Capital Market to “NRBO.”

The merged company will focus on the development of NeuroBo’s clinical-stage drug candidates for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, according to NeuroBo. 




NeuroBo is backed by South Korean bio-focused venture capital firm EN Investment. The Seoul-based firm invested 16.5 billion won ($13 million) in Series A funding in April 2018. It has also joined the ongoing Series B round funding.

“We are excited about the opportunities and resources that will become available to NeuroBo and its therapeutic pipeline as a result of the merger,” NeuroBo President and CEO John L. Brooks III said in a statement.

“As we move towards developing both NB-01 and NB-02, we believe that having shares publicly traded on Nasdaq will provide greater opportunity to advance our therapeutic pipeline and corporate strategy.”

NB-01 is the company’s lead drug candidate for treatment for diabetic neuropathic pain. It is in Phase 3 clinical development as a first-line, disease-modifying therapy. Phase 3 clinical trials are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2019. NeuroBo licensed NB-01 from Korean pharmaceutical company Dong-A ST.

NeuroBo’s second drug candidate, NB-02, acquired outright from Dong-A ST, is being developed for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the pathological dysfunction of the amyloid-beta and tau proteins in the human brain, which include Alzheimer’s disease and tauopathies.

The announcement came after Gemphire said it has signed an out-licensing partnership with Beijing SL Pharmaceutical to push its drug candidate, gemcabene, in the Chinese market. This partnership is expected to provide an upfront gross payment of $2.5 million to Gemphire.

“NeuroBo has a compelling Phase 3 program with NB-01 in diabetic neuropathic pain and a strong team to advance its pipeline. We evaluated numerous potential merger partners and recognized that NeuroBo has a solid base of investors and the potential to deliver significant value based on its pipeline assets,” said Gemphire President and CEO Steve Gullans.

By Park Ga-young (gypark@heraldcorp.com)

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