Madrigal, Synta complete merger

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Madrigal Pharmaceuticals and Synta Pharmaceuticals completed their merger on July 22.

The combined company, which will be known as Madrigal Pharmaceuticals and trade on the NASDAQ exchange, will focus on developing therapies to treat cardiovascular, metabolic and liver diseases. Synta was formerly focused on developing oncology therapies, but the company has no FDA-approved therapies.

The companies said in a news release that they had more than $40 million in cash to invest in its investigational products, including MGL-3196, a once-daily medication to treat patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and heterozygous and homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.

Early-stage studies have shown that patients who received MGL-3196 had a 30 percent reduction in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 28 percent reduction in non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 24 percent reduction in apolipoprotein B and 60 percent reduction in trigylcerides. MGL-3196, which is in-licensed from Roche Pharmaceuticals, also had a favorable safety profile, according to Madrigal.

Before the merger, Synta completed a one-for-35 reverse stock split, in which every 35 shares of Synta’s common stick were converted into one share of Synta stock. People who held Madrigal common stock before the merger received 0.1593 shares of Synta common stock. Following the deal, the combined company had approximately 11.3 million shares outstanding.

Paul Friedman, MD, will serve as Madrigal’s CEO and chairman of the board. He is currently the vice chair of cardiovascular disease at the Mayo Clinic and a partner at Vilicus Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Minnesota.

Rebecca Taub, MD, will serve as Madrigal’s chief medical officer and executive vice president of research and development and will become a member of the board of directors. Taub had been Madrigal’s CEO since the company was founded in September 2011.

Marc R. Schneebaum will serve as Madrigal’s chief financial officer (CFO). He has been Synta’s CFO and senior vice president since December 2014.

Before closing the deal, Friedman, Taub and other investors said they would commit $9 million to fund the development of MGL-3196 through phase 2 studies for patients with NASH, heterozygous and homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.

“The completion of this merger with Synta, and the emergence of the new Madrigal as a public company, are significant milestones for the combined company and its shareholders,” Friedman said in a news release. “We believe MGL-3196 provides a compelling opportunity for value creation from our product development programs in NASH and genetic lipid disorders, including familial hypercholesterolemia. The company is well capitalized and plans to initiate Phase 2 clinical trials in these indications in the next few months.”