Nastech buyout coming soon

Bethlehem, PA

#1 May 9, 2008
Nastech to Make Big Money

Nastech might sell nasal spray business
During a conference call to report its first quarter earnings this afternoon, Nastech Pharmaceutical CEO Steven Quay said the company had hired an investment bank to help it outlicense or sell its nasal spray business.

Nastech had previously talked about finding partners for its nasal spray programs, which include treatments for osteoporosis, obesity, and diabetes but had not mentioned the possibility of selling them. During the conference call, Quay said:

We intend to complete the ongoing Phase 2 trials with insulin and PYY (obesity spray), which will be wrapping up soon. We have no current plans to take these programs or our PTH (osteoporosis spray) further into development on our own. Therefore we have engaged BMO Capital Markets as our strategic adviser to assist us in identifying a partner or partners to further develop and commercialize these programs (through) either a sale or licensing transaction.

Selling the nasal spray assets would be the final step in completely re-focusing Nastech's business.

Nastech has two main businesses -- the nasal spray unit, as well as several pre-clinical RNA interference programs. Investors once valued Nastech principally for its nasal business. When Procter & Gamble pulled out of a lucrative agreement to produce a nasal spray for osteoporosis with Nastech last fall, the company's stock fell precipitously.

Two week ago, I reported that Nastech intended to change its name to MDRNA in order to emphasize RNA interference. Read my post on that topic here.

RNA interference is a technology that uses a type of RNA to "silence" a single gene. Nastech has identified four therapeutic targets for its RNAi technology -- two against rheumatoid arthritis and influenza and two, in an earlier stage, targeting cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Posted by Joe Tartakoff at May 8, 2008 5:15 p.m.

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