NeXeption Forms New Company Velicept Therapeutics, Inc.; Intends to Merge with AltheRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to Advance Solabegron for the Treatment of Overactive Bladder
-James Walker Named Velicept President and Chief Executive Officer-
JUNE 15, 2015 — MALVERN, Pa. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — NeXeption, a biopharmaceutical management company that brings together product opportunities, management expertise and funding to advance therapies and reach compelling partnership milestones, announced today that it has formed a new company, Velicept Therapeutics, Inc. NeXeption intends to merge Velicept with privately held AltheRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to advance the development of solabegron, a highly differentiated beta 3-adrenoceptor agonist for the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB). Prior to this merger, AltheRx completed Phase II clinical studies demonstrating positive results in the treatment of overactive bladder (OAB) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), conditions that affect the quality of life for more than 90 million Americans − a number that is expected to continue to grow as the population ages.
“The NeXeption business model has been successful in creating, funding and advancing independent operating companies that focus on the development and value maximization of pharmaceutical programs with the potential to fulfill unmet medical needs,” said Stephen A. Tullman, NeXeption Managing Member. “We are very excited about the clinical benefit and tolerability that solabegron has demonstrated in Phase II studies and look forward to taking the next steps to develop this asset and make it available to patients.”
NeXeption’s experienced team of pharmaceutical and biotechnology executives has a proven track record of identifying, developing, registering and commercializing new products. To date, the following companies, formed by members of the management team, have been successfully partnered, generating high returns for investors: Ceptaris Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Actelion Ltd), Vicept Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Allergan, Inc.), Ception Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Cephalon, Inc.) and Trigenesis Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Inc.).
“NeXeption has a long and proven history of building innovative companies and advancing products,” said Jim Bennethum, AltheRx Chief Executive Officer. “We believe this merger with Velicept is the perfect collaboration to help advance solabegron to achieve its full potential as a differentiated option for the large and growing OAB market.”
The companies anticipate the Velicept and AltheRx merger will close within two to three months.
James C. Walker Named Velicept President and CEO
NeXeption has appointed James C. Walker as President and Chief Executive Officer of Velicept. Mr. Walker was the founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Octagon Research Solutions, Inc., a development partnering organization that provided regulatory and clinical services and software to the life sciences industry. Octagon was acquired by Accenture in 2012.
Prior to founding Octagon, he worked as the Senior Manager of Worldwide Regulatory Affairs for the Schering-Plough Corporation. Formerly, Mr. Walker worked across multiple therapeutic areas in the Regulatory Affairs/Clinical and Clinical Quality Assurance department at the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute. He holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Villanova University, a Masters in Environmental Sciences from Rutgers University, an M.B.A. from Duke University and a Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.
Solabegron was discovered by GlaxoSmithKline and acquired by AltheRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in March 2011. Solabegron relaxes the bladder smooth muscle by stimulating beta 3-adrenoceptors, a novel mechanism compared to currently available treatments. A Phase II study of solabegron for overactive bladder (OAB) looked at 258 patients with moderate to severe incontinence. Results demonstrated a statistically and clinically significant improvement with solabegron as compared to placebo, as measured by the number of incontinence episodes and the number of daily voids.
A Phase II study for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) evaluated 102 patients with IBS. Solabegron demonstrated a significant reduction in pain associated with the disorder and a trend for greater improvement in the quality of life, compared to placebo.
Both Phase II studies indicated a tolerability profile for solabegron that was similar to placebo. The OAB patients did not suffer from dry mouth, constipation or changes in blood pressure or heart rate.
NeXeption is a biopharmaceutical management company that brings together product opportunities, management expertise and the necessary funding to reach compelling partnership milestones. The NeXeption management team has a proven track record in raising capital, operating development stage companies and forming strategic partnerships to advance products for the benefit of patients. More information is available at www.nexeption.com.