Eiger sanctioned: Celladon shareholders agree merger

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Eiger buys AAV gene therapy developer Celladon (picture: iStock/jarun011)
Eiger buys AAV gene therapy developer Celladon (picture: iStock/jarun011)
Eiger Biopharmaceuticals has merged with what is left of gene therapy developer Celladon in a deal that will see the combined firm list on the NASDAQ.

The merger comes less than a year after Celladon halted development of its lead product candidate Mydicar (AAV1/SERCA2a) – a gene therapy for heart failure - after it failed to meet primary and secondary endpoints in a Phase IIb trial.

The failure began Celladon’s collapse. In the months that followed the firm laid off staff and suspended development of a stem cell-based treatment for cardiac ischemia called mSCF.

Celladon also halted development of a preclinical candidate small molecule diabetes drug targeting the enzyme SERCA2b that it had been working on in collaboration with French firm Servier.

On May 29​ Celladon CEO Krisztina Zsebo resigned.

A day later the firm announced it was seeking buyer and hired Wedbush PacGrow Healthcare as financial advisor.

Eiger’s interest in Celladon emerged last November when the privately-held biotech announced the firms had signed a merger agreement.

Phase II development cash

The deal – which was approved by Celladon shareholders on Monday​ – sees Celladon renamed as Eiger BioPharmaceuticals.

Eiger CEO David Cory said: “We are transitioning from a private company to a publicly-traded company through this merger, and significantly increasing our financial resources.”

He also said that $39.5m (€35.3m) raised from investors combined with “$26.1m in cash on Celladon's balance sheet​” had given the merged firm enough money to “support operations and enable us to advance all four Phase 2 Orphan Disease programs."

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