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November 21, 2008
The Back Door to the Stock Market
Nitromed has been in trouble for several years now. They're a perfect example of a dog that caught a car: a company that was demolished by actually getting its drug on the market. No one wanted to pay for it, though, and after all that expense the company was left worse off than before.
Their remnants, though, are still listed on the NASDAQ, and that's more than a lot of more promising companies can say. One of those is Archemix, a company that I see every day on my way to work in Cambridge. They're working on aptamer-based therapies, and are at the stage in their life where (under normal conditions) they'd be thinking about an IPO. Well, they were thinking about that, but. . .these aren't exactly normal conditions, and the company recently announced that it was shelving that plan for now.
Enter Nitromed! The two companies have now announced a merger (a 70:30 stock split) which will keep the Archemix name and be listed on the stock exchange like Nitromed. Just add water, and you have an IPO, albeit with some dilution compared to the traditional way. Interestingly, the CEO of Nitromed will be the CEO of the new company, which I gather is coming as a bit of a surprise to the folks in the trenches at Archemix, as you might imagine.
But good luck to them all - in this environment, we all need it. Aptamers are an interesting and risky business, but not as risky as developing cardiovascular drugs that no one wants. . .
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