AstraZeneca’s MedImmune to acquire Amplimmune

MedImmune will acquire 100 percent of Amplimmune’s shares for an initial consideration of $225 million and deferred consideration of up to $275 million

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GAITHERSBURG, Md.—With Aug. 26 came news that MedImmune,the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, had enteredinto a definitive agreement to acquire Amplimmune, another Maryland-basedbiologics company focused on developing novel therapeutics in cancer immunology.Investors barely reacted to the news, and the stock price went up only slightlyto about $50.80 per share on Monday, and then down again until it was at about$50.20 at the end of Tuesday trading.
Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune willacquire 100 percent of Amplimmune's shares for an initial consideration of $225million and deferred consideration of as much as $275 million based on reachingpredetermined development milestones.
According to those within the AstraZeneca family,the acquisition will bolster MedImmune's oncology pipeline by obtainingmultiple early-stage assets for its immune-mediated cancer therapy (IMT-C)portfolio, including AMP-514, an anti-programmed cell death 1 monoclonalantibody. AMP-514 is currently in late-stage preclinical development with theaim of an investigational new drug filing before the end of 2013. OtherAmplimmune assets include multiple preclinical molecules targeting the B7pathways.
MedImmune's oncology research is focused on IMT-C,which it calls "a promising therapeutic approach that may lead to durable andprolonged response rates across a range of cancer types." IMT-Cs are beingdesigned to empower the immune system to counteract the tactics employed bycancer cells to avoid detection and attack the body.
"MedImmune's focus on harnessing the power of thepatient's own immune system to fight cancer will be complemented byAmplimmune's innovative work in this area. It will allow us to strengthen ourarsenal of potential cancer therapies," said Dr. Bahija Jallal, executive vice president of MedImmune. "We are excited to be working with the Amplimmune team tohelp find new treatments to address areas of unmet medical need."
Over at the Seeking Alpha site, the analyst take wasthat the deal "is aimed to boost the future pipeline of the troubledpharmaceutical company but promises no quick fixes to address the company'scurrent troubles," leaving the analyst writing, "I remain on the sidelines."
Zacks Investment Research, while it wasn't bullishabout the deal, was slightly more upbeat, noting, "We believe the proposedacquisition of Amplimmune makes strategic sense. AstraZeneca already has anumber of immune-mediated cancer candidates including tremelimumab andMEDI-4736. Amplimmune's technology and pipeline will boost AstraZeneca'spipeline and generate synergies."
"Both companies are passionate about developingnew cancer therapies for patients and are excited about the potential of immunotherapies.We are pleased to be joining MedImmune, who will work to further advance thepioneering work we've been conducting in this area," said Michael Richman,Amplimmune's president and CEO. "The synergy achieved by combining ourpipelines provides an important path towards developing novel immunotherapyproducts."
The proposed transaction is subject to customaryregulatory approvals and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2013.

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