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BGU’s Prof. Eli Heldman is One of the Researchers Behind NeuroDerm, Israel’s Biggest Pharma Exit to Date

Jul. 30, 2017
NeuroDerm, which announced its pending sale to Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation on Monday for $1.1b., began as an idea for a better way to deliver a Parkinson’s drug among three friends: BGU Prof. Eli Heldman, Dr. Moshe Kushnir and Dr. Haim Shlesinger.
The three thought of a way to deliver the drug levodopa, which increases dopamine levels in the brain and reduces Parkinson’s symptoms, sub-cutaneously with a miniaturized pump. Levodopa only reduces symptoms if a constant amount is continually pumped into the body. The longstanding gold standard treatment requires surgery to insert a catheter into the patient’s stomach to which a pouch and pump are attached. For those uninterested in surgery, levodopa is available in pill form, but then the dosage is not continuous. NeuroDerm’s device would make the gold standard treatment accessible and less disruptive for the majority of Parkinson’s patients. 
“We believe that this transaction will yield important benefits for NeuroDerm’s shareholders and the Parkinson’s disease patients that urgently need new therapies,” said Oded S. Lieberman, PhD, CEO of NeuroDerm. “MTPC has demonstrated development and commercialization expertise in the field of neurology and we are confident that the combination of their resources and the robust data supporting ND0612, our Phase III Parkinson’s disease product candidate, will help make this important new therapy available as broadly and rapidly as possible. The transaction also provides our shareholders with a significant return on their investment in NeuroDerm, reflecting the value that we have created with our pipeline and technologies.” 
NeuroDerm is in Phase III clinical trials in the United States with results expected later this year. Clinical trials to be held in Europe are expected to yield results in 2018. 
Heldman is a member of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology in the Faculty of Health Sciences​ at BGU. He is also one of three researchers behind the V-SmartTM Nanomedicines for brain cancers currently being developed by Lauren Sciences. His co-researchers for the V-Smart system are Dr. Sarina Grinberg and Dr. Charles Linder. 
Heldman was the company’s chief scientist for the first few years after its founding but has not played an active role in the company in the last several years. 
NeuroDerm Ltd. (Nasdaq: NDRM), a clinical stage pharmaceutical company developing drug-device combinations for central nervous system (CNS) disorders, announced Monday that it had signed a definitive agreement under which Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (TSE Code: 4508) (“MTPC”), a publicly traded company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, will acquire NeuroDerm for US$39 per share in cash. 
The transaction received unanimous approval by NeuroDerm’s Board of Directors and implies an equity value of approximately US$1.1 billion. The offer of US$39 per share in cash represents a premium of 79 percent over the unaffected price on June 9, 2017 of NeuroDerm’s ordinary shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market and a 17 percent premium over the closing stock price on July 21, 2017. A special meeting of shareholders to approve the transaction is expected to be held this fall. Assuming typical regulatory and shareholder approval timeframes, NeuroDerm currently anticipates the transaction will close in the fourth quarter of 2017.​