In a reverse merger, Commercial E Waste Management (formerly traded under ticker symbol CEWM) recently acquired FluoroPharma Medical, a developer of proprietary PET imaging products. The newly formed company is now known as FluoroPharma Medical. Upon finalizing the transaction, FluoroPharma Medical completed a capital raising effort through the placement of $3.5 million in stock.
Thijs Spoor, FluoroPharma’s CEO, commented the following, “This merger and capital infusion provide FluoroPharma with the resources to advance the clinical development of our promising PET imaging agents for acute and chronic coronary disease and novel Alzheimer preclinical tracers.”
The inventor of FluoroPharma’s imaging technology, Dr. David Elmaleh, who’s also board chair for the new company, noted that the enterprise had already translated “scientific insights into data from clinical trials in two separate cardiac imaging indications and now look forward to taking the next steps in the development of these agents.”
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) uses gamma ray pairs to produce a three-dimensional image of the body’s functional processes. Tracers, or positron-emitting radionuclides, are introduced on biologically active molecules to facilitate the process, typically by injection. PET scans are usually read together with MRI and CT scans. The FluoroPharma approach, in cardiac medicine, targets the heart’s myocardial cells or coronary arterial plaques.
The company’s ambitious plans to provide similar diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease could be of great benefit to patients and their clinicians, since early diagnosis is increasingly viewed as important to successful treatment and slowing the disease’s progress. At least one other company – Avid RadioPharmaceuticals – is also in the field, but has had some problems which might be relieved by advanced computer analysis of PET results.
However, despite Avid’s issues with its Alzheimer’s imaging agent florbetapir, it was deemed promising enough by Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical (NYSE: LLY) to result in Lilly’s acquisition of Avid last November in a stunning $300-million deal, with an additional $500 million on the backend based on regulatory approvals. FluoroPharma, which has already had Phase I successes with its cardiac PET agents, was thus a very logical takeover candidate.
Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of the brain in which certain beta amyloid proteins form tangled plaques which interfere with neurologic signals. The chemistry of these plaques was identified in the 1990s by Dr. Changiz Geula and others at Boston’s Beth Deaconess Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In a related development in the late 1980s, Dr. Stanley Prusiner, who later was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work, established the existence of an entirely new class of pathogens, prions, a type of protein – as precursors of diseases similar to Alzheimer’s, though to date scientists have been reluctant to link prions to Alzheimer’s.
The FluoroPharma website says that the company has four U.S. patents and seven pending patent applications, “in addition to strong international protection.” It also actively seeks acquisition of other PET technologies from “from individuals and institutions.” The company has established close research affiliations with Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. With leading technologies and historic deals such as the Lilly/Avid acquisition behind it, FlouroPharma could very quickly capture the attention of the investment community.