Newron Pharmaceuticals of Italy has signed an agreement to acquire Sweden's NeuroNova, a neurogenesis specialist.

The deal is an all-share transaction which values the Stockholm-based private firm at around 15.4 million euros. NeuroNova was founded by scientists from Karolinska Institutet and Investor and HealthCap, holders of more than 90% of its shares, will become stockholders in Newron and each may nominate a representative to the Milan-headquartered group's board of directors.

The transaction "adds two highly innovative Phase II compounds" to Newron’s central nervous system portfolio. First up is sNN0031, a platelet-derived growth factor which has shown potentially beneficial effects in patients with Parkinson's disease. The second drug is sNN029, a vascular endothelial growth factor, is being developed for the treatment of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Newron chief executive Stefan Weber said the acquisition is "exciting, as it brings together global development expertise, a new generation of compounds that could alter the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders [and] material funding". His counterpart at NeuroNova, Ulf Ljungberg, added that "it is the logical next step…to combine our advanced pipeline and know-how" with a larger player in the CNS field, adding to Newron’s Parkinson's disease treatment, safinamide.

He went on to say that given "the clinical development experience and the resources of a publicly listed entity", the new group has "a strong platform on which to build the critical mass this industry is looking for".