Targacept’s strategy in biotech industry was risk worth taking

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Targacept has been the biotechnology face of Winston-Salem for nearly 10 years. (Journal file photo)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The pending sale of Targacept Inc. – Winston-Salem’s biotechnology face for nearly 15 years – signifies both the ending of a high-profile era and a fresh example of the volatility that comes with hitching economic fortunes to the biotech sector, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Targacept announced Thursday it has agreed to be bought by Catalyst Biosciences Inc. in a reverse merger to which Targacept has committed its remaining $92 million in cash. Catalyst would assume Targacept’s NASDAQ listing if the deal is approved in the second quarter.

Even though Targacept failed to crack the code for medicinal use of neuronal nicotinic receptors despite great promise, local officials said the company’s legacy will be one of giving the community a hands-on example of the high-risk, high-reward industry.

Nancy Johnston, executive director of the N.C. Biotechnology Center’s Piedmont Triad office, credited Targacept for working with the center “to support life science growth” in part through its reputation for innovations.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal