Bionomics updates on strategic review

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Australian biopharmaceutical company Bionomics (ASX:BNO) has updated investors on its recent strategic review.

The company currently has several products in development including small molecule drug candidates for the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain as part of an agreement with MSD.

It announced the review late last year following the retirement of its founding leader, Dr Deborah Rathjen, and a major recapitalisation to raise almost $8 million.

It also followed disappointing results from the phase 2 trial of BNC210 in patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The independent review was focused on assessing the company's options for partnering, prioritising its asset portfolio and conserving cash through further cost-cutting to reflect its downsizing.

In a statement to investors, the company said the review was complete and while it continues to evaluate out-licensing opportunities and potential merger candidates, "no assurance can be given that these efforts will lead to a proposal the Board can recommend to shareholders."

It said an update on its collaboration with MSD is no longer anticipated in the first half of 2019 and no more information can be provided at this time.

The company also said a capital and debt structure review is being conducted to determine the feasibility of funding future clinical trials.

It added that patient enrolment in a trial of BNC210 to treat agitation in elderly patients is complete with top-line data expected by the end of June 2019.

“Extensive discussions with potential counterparties in relation to monetising all or part of the Bionomics portfolio of clinical and pre-clinical assets did not identify a compelling alternative to continuing development and partnering discussions of those assets by Bionomics," said executive chairman Dr Errol De Souza.

"We will continue to entertain credible proposals in relation to transactions that could add value to shareholders from any source. In the meantime, we continue to focus on advancing the pipeline while cutting operating costs to extend our cash runway. 

"We anticipate reporting the top line data of our exploratory BNC210 clinical trial for the treatment of Agitation in elderly patients by the end of June 2019 and will define the strategy for BNC210 for the treatment of PTSD and other anxiety-related disorders following receipt of guidance from the FDA towards the end of CY3Q2019.” 

The company's share price fell by 10 per cent following the announcement.