Utah’s inactive Myrexis launches new growth strategy
Evaluation • Biotech research company will explore acquisition opportunities.
Published: May 15, 2012 11:22PM
Updated: August 28, 2012 11:33PM

Myrexis Inc., a Salt Lake City-based biotechnology research company that idled much of its operations last year, said it is pursing a new long-term strategy.

Part of it will be to explore acquisition opportunities to bring new commercial operations to the company, which was spun off from Myriad Genetics in June 2009.

To help accomplish that goal, the company said Richard Brewer has been appointed president and CEO, and that David Gryska will be chief operating officer, with both also named to Myrexis’ board of directors.

“The board has been evaluating alternatives to increase shareholder value following our decision in February to suspend development activities on the company’s pre-clinical and clinical programs,” Myrexis Chairman Gerald Bell said a statement.

Bell said as a result of that evaluation process, the board made a decision to pursue the acquisition of one or more commercial assets. “To accomplish this goal, we were fortunate to attract these talented executives with a depth of experience in biopharma.”

Brewer and Gryska collectively have an extensive track record of commercializing, acquiring and marketing pharmaceutical products, he added.

Brewer is a former CEO of Scios Inc., a California-based biopharmaceutical company developing drugs for the potential treatment of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and has served as chairman of several biotechnology companies. Gryska is a former senior vice president and chief financial officer of Celgene Corp., a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company whose compounds are being used in more than 300 clinical trials at major medical centers.

Myrexis controls several compounds it believes are promising drug candidates for the treatment of cancers and autoimmune diseases. It hopes to license those compounds to other companies for development.

The company last week reported it lost $10.7 million, or 40 cents per share, for its third quarter ended March 31. It lost $26.8 million, or $1.02 for the first nine months of its 2012 fiscal year.

The company announced in March 2011 that it had stopped all contract research activity and doesn’t intend to get back into that business. As a result, Myrexis reported it didn’t generate any research revenue for the third quarter or first nine months of its 2012 fiscal year.

Myrexis, however, said it ended its recently completed third quarter with $96.4 million in cash and marketable securities. It had expenses of $20.6 million for the nine months ended March 31.

The company also noted that in March it launched a phased reduction in its workforce. “On March 31, Myrexis had 30 employees and expects to have approximately 10 by the end of June, the end of its fiscal year,” it said in a statement.

Myrexis shares, which are listed on the Nasdaq system under the symbol MYRX, closed Tuesday at $2.75.