June 18, 2012
NeoStem Signs a Definitive Agreement to Divest Its 51% Ownership Interest in Suzhou Erye
NeoStem, Inc. (NYSE Amex:NBS) (“NeoStem” or the “Company”) today announced that the Company has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its 51% interest in Suzhou Erye Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (“Erye”), a China-based generic pharmaceutical company, for $12,280,000 in cash and the return to the Company of (i) 1,040,000 shares of the Company’s Common Stock and (ii) the cancellation of 1,170,000 options and 640,000 Common Stock warrants, which collectively represent 1.3% of the Company’s fully diluted issued and outstanding shares. The closing of the transaction is subject to the approval of NeoStem shareholders and certain other conditions. Closing of the transaction is expected to occur by the fourth quarter of 2012.
“We are pleased to have reached this significant milestone in our business,” said Dr. Robin L. Smith, Chairman and CEO of NeoStem. “This divestiture will enable NeoStem to bolster its cash position in the United States, reduce its legal and financial reporting expenditures, simplify its financials and become a pure play in the rapidly growing cell therapy industry. Consummation of the transaction will also eliminate significant Erye debt from the Company’s balance sheet, which was over $37 million as of March 31, 2012.”
NeoStem acquired its interest in Erye in October 2009 and was heralded, at that time, for its innovative business move into the emerging Chinese pharmaceutical industry. In 2011, the Chinese government imposed new policies affecting price and volume controls of certain pharmaceutical products, including generic antibiotics, which reduced the division’s profitability and positive cash flows. This dampened Erye’s operating results and was the catalyst for NeoStem to begin to evaluate opportunities to monetize its interest in Erye.
The divestiture will enable NeoStem to focus full time on its goal to emerge as a leader in the cell therapy market. The Company is enrolling patients in its PreSERVE AMR-001 Phase 2 clinical trial for preserving heart function after a heart attack and expanding its cell therapeutic contract manufacturing business, PCT. NeoStem also plans to continue to develop and to build on its core capabilities in cell therapy to capitalize on the paradigm shift that is occurring in medicine.
Over one million people in the Unites States suffer a heart attack annually. One in five people who survive a heart attack dies within a year. Of those individuals that do live, many of them have worsening heart function over time. NeoStem’s Phase 2 therapeutic product candidate, AMR-001, takes stem cells from a person’s own body and injects them one time into the heart through the infarct related artery in order to lay down new blood vessels, with the intent of preserving heart function. Management remains focused on the key objective of completing enrollment of the PreSERVE AMR-001 Phase 2 clinical trial in order to have data during the second half of 2013.
About NeoStem, Inc.
NeoStem, Inc. (“we,” “NeoStem” or the “Company”) continues to develop and build on its core capabilities in cell therapy to capitalize on the paradigm shift that we see occurring in medicine. In particular, we anticipate that cell therapy will have a large role in the fight against chronic disease and in lessening the economic burden that these diseases pose to modern society. Our January 2011 acquisition of Progenitor Cell Therapy, LLC (“PCT”) provides NeoStem with a foundation in both manufacturing and regulatory affairs expertise. We believe this expertise, coupled with our existing research capabilities and collaborations, will allow us to achieve our mission of becoming a premier cell therapy company. Our PCT subsidiary’s manufacturing base is one of the few current Good Manufacturing Practices (“cGMP”) facilities available for contracting in the burgeoning cell therapy industry. Amorcyte, LLC (“Amorcyte”), which we acquired in October 2011, is developing a cell therapy for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Amorcyte’s lead compound, AMR-001, represents NeoStem’s most clinically advanced therapeutic and Amorcyte is enrolling patients for a Phase 2 trial to investigate AMR-001′s efficacy in preserving heart function after a heart attack. We also expect to begin a Phase 1 clinical trial by 2012/2013 to investigate AMR-001′s utility in arresting the progression of congestive heart failure and the associated comorbidities of that disease. Athelos Corporation (“Athelos”), which is approximately 80%-owned by our subsidiary, PCT, is engaged in collaboration with Becton-Dickinson that is exploring the earlier stage clinical development of a T-cell therapy for autoimmune conditions. In addition, our pre-clinical assets include our VSELTM Technology platform as well as our MSC (mesenchymal stem cells) product candidate for regenerative medicine.
For more information on NeoStem, please visit www.neostem.com.
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