Combined public entity to focus lead program on treatment of advanced Parkinson’s Disease.
Privately held biotech Serina Therapeutics has entered into a merger agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of longevity company AgeX Therapeutics (NYSE American: AGE). The merger, set to take place in the first quarter of 2024, will result in the formation of a new publicly traded entity, retaining the name Serina Therapeutics and trading on the NYSE American under the symbol SER.
The combined company will concentrate on advancing Serina’s pipeline of small molecule drug candidates aimed at treating central nervous system conditions via its proprietary POZ Platform delivery technology. The central program of the new entity will be the development of SER-252 (POZ-apomorphine), targeting advanced Parkinson’s Disease. Pre-clinical studies of SER-252 are in progress with a goal to submit an investigational new drug submission to the FDA by the end of 2024, initiating a Phase I clinical trial.
‘Compelling option’ for stockholders
After the merger, pre-merger AgeX stockholders are projected to own about 25% of the new company, while pre-merger Serina stockholders will hold roughly 75%. AgeX had previously invested $10 million in Serina through a Senior Convertible Loan Note, which will be converted into Serina capital stock upon completion of the merger. This investment, combined with the additional funds from warrant exercises, will provide working capital for the combined company’s operations into 2026.
“The AgeX team thoroughly reviewed and evaluated numerous strategic alternatives for creating stockholder value, and we believe this transaction with Serina presented the most compelling option for our stockholders,” said Dr Joanne M Hackett, interim CEO of AgeX. “We see exciting potential to generate novel drug candidates with the POZ Platform delivery technology.”
Warrants to inject additional $15m
The merger also includes the issuance of Post-Merger Warrants to AgeX stockholders, including its majority shareholder Juvenescence. These warrants come with a cash exercise requirement, which will inject an additional $15 million into the combined company in three installments.
“Serina merging with AgeX is an important step towards recognizing the potential to develop the POZ Platform to deliver novel medicines and treatment modalities,” said Richard Marshall, CEO of Juvenescence. “We plan to leverage our deep pharmaceutical expertise and network to assist the combined company to reach its goal in maximizing value for stockholders.”
“We could not be more excited about the incoming company and its opportunity in the world of vaccines and in Parkinson’s disease,” Gregory Bailey, Chairman of Juvenescence told us. “We believe it is a very good fit with Richard Marshall and his team of drug developers, and represents a great opportunity for AgeX and Serina shareholders to unlock significant value.”
After the merger, the combined company will be led by a new CEO. The existing executive team of Serina is expected to continue in key leadership roles, with Serina’s CFO Steve Ledger serving as the interim CEO until a new CEO is hired.
“The merger with AgeX positions Serina to advance our CNS pipeline assets and expand our platform partnering opportunities,” said Dr Milton Harris, co-founder of Serina. “We believe it represents the best path forward for Serina in accessing transformative capital to advance our platform technology.”