New entity will focus on rare diseases and underserved populations.

Raptor Pharmaceuticals and TorreyPines Therapeutics entered into a definitive merger agreement. Raptor stockholders will own approximately 95% of the combined company, which will concentrate on rare diseases and underserved patients by developing new treatments or improving existing ones.

The deal, which is structured as a reverse merger, comes after TorreyPines reported on May 29 the decision to liquidate the firm’s assets and to dissolve the company. A month earlier, the company reduced its workforce to three employees.

The transaction with Raptor is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Raptor will become part of a wholly owned subsidiary of TorreyPines, and the new entity will be named Raptor Pharmaceuticals and be headquartered in Novato, CA.

The merged firm will have a pipeline of early- to mid-stage development candidates and preclinical platforms designed to improve delivery of existing therapeutics for orphan indications and underserved patient populations. Furthest along is Raptor’s cystinosis drug candidate and TorreyPines’ migraine therapy, both in Phase II.

Raptor also has candidates in clinical development to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, Huntington’s disease, Batten disease, and aldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency. TorreyPines’ clinical pipeline comprises candidates for muscle spasticity and rigidity, neuropathic pain, Alzheimer’s, and cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia.

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