ThromboGenics to Stay Independent After Ending Review

ThromboGenics NV, the Belgian maker of the Jetrea eye therapy, ended an effort to sell itself and will seek a partner to help market the drug in the U.S., where sales have been disappointing. The stock had a record decline.

Chief Financial Officer Chris Buyse, who also serves on the board, will resign June 30, the Heverlee-based company also said in a statement today. Buyse’s departure is for personal reasons, and isn’t related to the company’s review of options, said Wouter Piepers, a spokesman for ThromboGenics.

“M&A was one of the options on the table,” Piepers said in an e-mail. “The board has decided not to pursue that road and cannot comment on any of the content of those talks.”

ThromboGenics, which sold shares in an initial public offering in 2006, plunged 32 percent to close at 9.80 euros in Brussels today, its steepest decline ever. This reduced ThromboGenics’ market value to 353.7 million euros ($480.6 million). The stock sank 11 percent yesterday amid speculation that the company wouldn’t be sold.

The stock has slumped 79 percent from a peak of 47.17 euros in January 2013 as Jetrea’s introduction disappointed investors. The company hired Morgan Stanley and began reviewing strategic options in February after sales missed forecasts.

‘Major Disappointment’

“This is a major disappointment for the market,” said Jan De Kerpel, an analyst at KBC Securities NV, who cut the recommendation on shares to sell from accumulate and the price estimate to 11 euros from 26 euros. “The launch failed in the U.S. and the product is kind of burned. The company realized they cannot do the commercialization on their own.”

Novartis AG, Shire Plc, Roche Holding AG, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Allergan Inc., are among drugmakers that weighed offers for ThromboGenics NV, people familiar with the matter said in April.

Jetrea is an injection for vitreomacular adhesion, a vision-destroying condition that’s often treated with surgery. Sales failed to take off after the company introduced the drug in the U.S. in January 2013 in part because doctors failed to embrace the new treatment. Sales totaled 20.2 million euros in 2013 in the U.S. Novartis sells the drug in other countries.

Luc Philips, another board member, will serve as interim CFO until a replacement is found, ThromboGenics said.

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