Dipexium, PLx Pharma agree to merge

Dipexium Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:DPRX) and closely held PLx Pharma have agreed to merge in an all-stock transaction. 

Following closing, Dipexium will be renamed PLx Pharma and will operate under the leadership of the PLx management team, with Michael Valentino serving as executive chairman of the board and Natasha Giordano as president and CEO.

The combined company will initially be focused on completion of manufacturing scale-up and label finalization for the previously conditionally approved Aspertec 325 mg aspirin dosage form and filing of a supplemental NDA for Aspertec 81 mg maintenance dose form. 

Aspertec is being developed to provide high-risk cardiovascular and neurology patients with more reliable and predictable antiplatelet efficacy, compared with enteric coated aspirin, while also reducing the adverse gastric events common in an acute setting. 

Under the accord, Dipexium will issue approximately 36 million new shares of its common stock to PLx stockholders under an exchange ratio formula defined in the merger agreement. 

On closing, existing PLx stockholders are expected to own 76.75% of Dipexium common shares outstanding and existing Dipexium stockholders are expected to own 23.25% of Dipexium common shares outstanding. 

"This transaction with PLx Pharma reflects the continued commitment of Dipexium's board of directors and management team to deliver value to Dipexium stockholders," David Luci, president and CEO of Dipexium, said in a statement. 

The boards of directors of both Dipexium and PLx Pharma have unanimously approved the proposed transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the stockholders of Dipexium and PLx Pharma. The merger is expected to close during the second quarter of 2017.