Public Biopharma company moves to Houston after merger

Versartis, a publicly-traded biopharmaceutical company based in California, has moved its head office to Houston after its all-stock merger with privately-held Aravive Biologics. The latter company is focused on the development of innovative oncology therapeutics and is based in downtown Houston.

The company, which trades on the Nasdaq, has changed its name to Aravive (ticker symbol ‘ARAV’).

The company doesn’t have any revenues yet and has cash balances of around $60 million at close.

Jay Shepard, who was the CEO and principal financial officer at Versartis becomes the CEO of the new company. Vinay Shah, who has been the CFO at Aravive Biologics since 2010, has been appointed as the CFO of the combined company.

Versartis was a biotech start-up that went public through a $126 million IPO in 2014. Unfortunately, it only had one drug (to treat human growth hormone deficiency) in its clinical pipeline. In September 2017 that drug failed to show enough results in trials. As a result, the company sought strategic alternatives.

In May, Stephen Eck, the former CEO of Aravive left to join another Houston biopharma company, Immatics, as its Chief Medical Officer.

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