CeNeS to buy US neuroscience firm CNSI for $44m

23 May 2000 11:25 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (CNI)--UK company CeNeS Pharmaceuticals said Tuesday it is to acquire US-based Cambridge Neuroscience Inc (CNSI) for about $44m (Euro49m), to be paid in new shares.

CeNeS, which was forced to break off merger talks with compatriot Vanguard Medica earlier in May, said the acquisition will broaden its product pipeline and expand its R&D skill base and infrastructure. It will also bring a substantial intellectual property portfolio, particularly in the ion channel arena, the company said.

Daniel Roach, CeNeS' chief executive, commented: "We are adding a strategic eastern US location in the heart of biotechnology innovation, which enables us to market our products and services to US pharmaceutical companies."

The deal, which is subject to shareholder approval, is expected to be concluded in Q4-2000.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, CNSI is engaged in the discovery and development of proprietary pharmaceuticals, focusing on nerve cell survival and function. It is developing products to treat chronic pain and neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathies.

CeNeS said Robert McBurney, former senior vice president and chief scientific officer of CNSI, will replace Harry Wilcox as chief executive officer of the US firm. Wilcox will remain on the CNSI board until completion of the transaction.

Neil Clark, currently group financial controller and company secretary at CeNeS, will become group financial director of CeNeS from 1 July. He will replace David Kirk, who is leaving CeNeS to devote more time to other business interests but will remain in a consultancy role until completion of the transaction.

CeNeS had hoped to merge with Vanguard Medica, which has just changed its name to Vernalis, but discussions were terminated by Vanguard earlier this month.

By Anna Jagger