Raleigh’s NephroGenex files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

NephroGenex, which announced last month it had fired its CEO and was working to sell its assets, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Raleigh drug developer said in a statement Monday that it has hired an investment banking firm to help it sell its assets and will seek approval from the bankruptcy court to establish bidding and sale procedures.

NephroGenex completed an initial public offering in February 2014, one of several Triangle biotechnology companies to go public in 2013 and 2014.

But, like a number of other companies that went public at that time, it has struggled to raise money as investors have soured on the sector.

In February, NephroGenex cited “the condition of the capital markets” and its dwindling cash balance as factors in its decision to suspend the clinical trial of its experimental drug Pyridorin. Federal regulators had cleared NephroGenex to conduct clinical trials using Pyridorin to treat acute kidney injury.

NephroGenex was restructuring its operations in an attempt to complete a reverse merger. A reverse merger would have involved selling the company to a privately owned business, which would enable the buyer to become a publicly traded company faster and cheaper than going through an initial public offering.

NephroGenex shares were down 62 percent to 18 cents in afternoon trading Monday. The company went public at $12 a share.