A name change and significant sale as Pharmaxis becomes Syntara

Significant changes for Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS) with the company announcing a new name and the sale of the mannitol respiratory business.

Pharmaxis has been renamed Syntara. The company said it will primarily focus on treatments for haematological malignancies.

The mannitol respiratory business unit, which includes ARIDOL and BRONCHITOL, has been sold to another Australian company, Arna Pharma.

Syntara said the sale is scheduled for completion before the end of October 2023.

“It will immediately commence an eight-month process of transferring production of ARIDOL and BRONCHITOL and creating job opportunities for Pharmaxis MBU [mannitol respiratory business unit] employees at its multi-product Sydney facility with some elements of manufacturing being undertaken by specialist contract manufacturers,” said Syntara.

The company said Arna Pharma will reimburse it for most of the expenses it will incur through May 2024. It will also receive ongoing royalties for eight years from Arna Pharma’s Sydney-based business including ARIDOL and BRONCHITOL. It said the sale and associated Pharmaxis restructure will result in a reduction of annual core costs, excluding external research costs, of more than 60 per cent, saving the company over $14 million per year.

This will be due in large part to the elimination of costs attached to operating a global pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution business and a headcount that drops from approximately 70 to 25, it said.

Syntara said it will be a clinical-stage drug development company primarily focused on blood-related cancers. The company’s lead drug candidate, PXS-5505, is an inhibitor of lysyl oxidase (LOX) that has already reported positive Phase 2 data in myelofibrosis patients.

The company said it will reduce the size of its board with Malcolm McComas retiring effective immediately after serving for 11 years as chair. Dr Neil Graham also retires today after three years as a non-executive director.

Current Pharmaxis director Dr Kathleen Metters has been appointed by the board as Chair, effective today. Current non-executive directors, Dr Simon Green and Hashan De Silva, will continue with the chief executive officer and managing director Gary Phillips.

Mr Phillips said, “Over the last few years Pharmaxis has built a commanding position in lysyl oxidase biology and chemistry research. We have collaborated with leading clinicians and scientists worldwide and forged through the early stage studies that have given us a clinical pipeline with great potential and resulted in multiple Nature publications.

“Building on this heritage and the proven capability of our discovery and development teams, the restructure announced today and the creation of Syntara enables us to focus and accelerate our clinical development programs.

“In PXS-5505 we have a best-in-class drug with an excellent safety profile that has the potential to offer disease modifying effect to patients with haematological malignancies. Syntara and its shareholders are in the unique position of having five planned clinical programs that can deliver company transforming results within a two year period and I am very excited to start on this new journey.”

Mr Phillips added, “Pharmaxis has a proud legacy that has been achieved with the support of our shareholders, Board and employees and I thank them most sincerely and look forward to the next chapter in our drug development evolution. Arna Pharma is ideally placed to continue on the ground-breaking work Pharmaxis has done in getting two drugs through global regulatory approvals and marketed to patients worldwide, including adults and children living with cystic fibrosis. I am delighted that Bronchitol and Aridol will continue to be supplied without interruption.”

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