Oxygen Biotherapeutics stock soars after acquisition announcement

10/22/2013 1:20 PM

10/22/2013 1:21 PM

Oxygen Biotherapeutics stock rose 30 percent Tuesday after the Morrisville company announced that it is acquiring the rights to a cardiovascular drug candidate for $4.8 million in stock and naming a new CEO.

The drug development company is acquiring the rights from Phyxius Pharma, a privately-held company. The deal gives Oxygen Bio exclusive rights to Levosimendan, a drug to prevent and treat cardiac surgery patients at risk of developing low cardiac output syndrome, or LCOS.

In addition to acquiring the rights, Oxygen Bio will also add three Phyxius Pharma executives to its management team. John Kelly, co-founder and CEO of Phyxius Pharma, is to become CEO of Oxygen Bio.

Levosimendan has been granted fast track status by the Food and Drug Administration, a designation that fast-tracks drugs that have the potential to offer significant improvement in treatment compared to products already on the market.

The drug is cleared to begin phase 3 clinical trials, the final phase required before seeking regulator approval. Oxygen Bio said Levosimendan targets a $600 million market in the U.S.

Oxygen Bio is developing several experimental drugs.

It is partnering with Wilmington-based PPD to complete the second phase of clinical trials of Oxycyte, a treatment for traumatic brain injury. The company is also conducting preclinical trials of a substance for healing wounds and sells an over-the-counter cosmetic line, Dermacyte, which is used to treat fine lines and wrinkles.

This summer, Oxygen Bio raised $5.4 million in a stock sale. The company's proceeds from the sale totaled $4.8 million.

Oxygen Bio shares closed Tuesday at $1.82, up 40 cents. The stock is down 82 percent this year.

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