RARE Daily

Sio Gene Therapies to Liquidate after Failing to Find a Buyer

December 15, 2022

Sio Gene Therapies, a biotech company focused on developing gene therapies for CNS diseases, said its Board of Directors has unanimously decided that it is in the best interests of its shareholders to dissolve the company and liquidate its assets, including its subsidiaries, after exploring strategic options that had included a sale of the company.

“After evaluating the company’s strategic options, the Board of Directors unanimously concluded that it is in the best interests of the shareholders to dissolve and liquidate the Company,” said David Nassif, CEO of Sio, in a statement. “The Board of Directors and management, together with its external advisors, devoted substantial time and effort in identifying and pursuing opportunities to enhance shareholder value; however, that process did not yield a potential transaction which the Board viewed as reasonably likely to provide greater realizable value to its shareholders than the complete dissolution and liquidation of the company.”

Sio Gene Therapies was formerly known as Axovant and had raised $315 million in a 2015 IPO. But a high profile 2017 failure of a late-stage clinical trial for an experimental Alzheimer’s drug led the company to an overhaul that gave it a new name, a new strategy, and a new CEO.

Pavan Cheruvu took over as CEO in early 2018, with a plan for building a company focused on developing gene therapies for conditions of the central nervous system, including rare diseases.

The company was renamed to Sio Gene Therapies and in-licensed one program in Parkinson’s disease. It also in-licensed a pair of gene therapy programs from the University of Massachusetts in GM1 gangliosidosis and Tay-Sachs/Sandhoff disease with the GM1 program being Sio’s lead candidate.

But by early 2022, with these programs in trouble, Sio terminated the licensing arrangement for its GM1 and GM2 gene therapy programs, cut the majority of its workforce, and began looking for a buyer.

By the end of April, Sio Gene Therapies cut most of its staff and terminated its licensing agreement with the University of Massachusetts, stopping development of two licensed candidates for the treatment of GM1 and GM2 gangliosidosis, and began exploring options for selling or merging the company.

“After a thorough review of our ongoing programs, and given the current public financing environment, we have decided to terminate our GM1 and GM2 licensing agreements with UMass and wind down our related clinical trials and manufacturing operations,” said David Nassif, CEO of Sio, in a statement at that time.

If Sio’s shareholders approve the Plan of Dissolution, Sio intends to file a certificate of dissolution, delist its shares of common stock from Nasdaq, satisfy or resolve its remaining liabilities and obligations, make reasonable provisions for unknown claims and liabilities, attempt to convert all of its remaining assets into cash or cash equivalents, and make distributions to its shareholders of remaining cash available for distribution based upon their proportionate ownership at the time of the filing of the certificate of dissolution, subject to applicable legal requirements.

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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