Bone Fixes Fracture with "Synergistic" Reverse Merger, Becomes BioSenic

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Struggling Bone Therapeutics may have caught a break. The cell therapy company is rebranding with the name BioSenic following a reverse merger with France’s Medsenic that closed Tuesday. 

The new company will focus on the development of Medsenic’s arsenic Trioxide for the treatment of serious inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. It will also continue Bone Therapeutics' ongoing programs for allogeneic osteoblastic cells under development for bone breaks.

François Rieger_BioSenic Medsenic’s François Rieger will serve as the chairman and chief executive officer of BioSenic. He told BioSpace the reverse merger was sparked by Medsenic’s early clinical successes in the development of arsenic Trioxide, a medication that was well-known for its efficacy in treating forms of leukemia.

Medsenic has been focused on developing an oral formulation of arsenic Trioxide for autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus, chronic Graft versus Host Disease (cGvHD) and systemic sclerosis. The company is eying a Phase III program in cGvHD and began exploring financing options, which included potential listing on the stock market.

Instead, Medsenic opted for the reverse merger with Bone Therapeutics. Together, the new company has a valuation of about $40 million.

In the search for options, Rieger explained that he and his team came across Bone and its cell therapy program. Earlier in 2022, the company initiated a radical restructuring that included the paring down of its pipeline and the loss of multiple members of its leadership team, including CEO Miguel Forte and Chief Scientific Officer Tony Ting.

"Synergies" Driving Innovation

Leadership from both companies realized a synergy between their approaches and forged the new company. Now, Rieger said there is room to advance both arsenic Trioxide and Bone's allogeneic cell therapy platform, ALLOB, which is in Phase IIb development for high-risk tibial fractures.

“These were two companies following very different paths, but when you took a close look, there were synergies in terms of people and a convergence between arsenic Trioxide and Bone Therapeutics’ ALLOB cell therapy,” Rieger said.

The merger was first announced in August after Bone reported limited available cash following the restructuring. The company had cash and cash equivalents between €8 and €10 million, which would have allowed it to continue operations through the first quarter of 2023.

Rieger noted that the assets from both companies will target both tissue inflammation and repair.

BioSenic intends to initiate a Phase III trial for arsenic Trioxide in cGvHD. Rieger anticipates the late-stage program will begin in the first half of 2023.

Additional studies in severe lupus and systemic sclerosis are also planned, Rieger said. He noted that beyond these indications, there is a possibility to advance arsenic Trioxide as a potential therapy in diseases where neuro-inflammation plays a role, including multiple sclerosis.

The Phase IIb ALLOB cell therapy program remains ongoing. Interim data is anticipated in the first half of 2023. The cell therapy is designed to use bone marrow from healthy donors, engineer them through a proprietary process and inject them into patients following a break in the tibia. If it is successful, the cells around the fracture will regenerate and remodel the bone.

Earlier in 2022, Bone’s Forte told BioSpace the new cells “are conditioned to produce bone so they hit the ground running. When they are applied to bone, they know what to do.”

Following the merger, the BioSenic leadership team includes Rieger, as well as Véronique Pomi-Schneiter, who serves as deputy CEO, and Chief Medical Officer Anne Leselbaum, who oversaw Bone following the loss of its C-Suite.

The new company stock ticker symbol will change from “BOTHE” to “BIOS.”

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