RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc.and privately held Presidio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have announced the signing ofa definitive merger agreement, under which Presidio will be acquired byBioCryst in an all-stock transaction. Both companies' boards of directors haveapproved the transaction, which values Presidio at approximately $101 million,based on the Oct. 17 closing BioCryst share price of $4.11 per share. Thetransaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including BioCrystshareholder approval, and is expected to close in the first quarter of nextyear.
"The Presidio team looks forward to joining forces withBioCryst in the pursuit of groundbreaking oral therapies for HCV and otherimportant diseases such as hereditary angioedema," Richard Colonno, Ph.D.,chief scientific officer of Presidio, said in a press release. "Our initialfocus will be on commencing HCV curative Phase IIa combination trials with ourNS5A inhibitor PPI-668, while advancing both our nucleoside and non-nucleosideinhibitors through Phase I proof-of-concept trials next year."
Presidio is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company based inSan Francisco. The company specializes in the discovery and development ofsmall-molecule antiviral therapeutics, with its current focus consisting oftherapies for hepatitis C virus infection. Its hepatitis C pipeline consists ofcompounds that target both the NS5A and NS5B proteins of the disease, and itsaim is "to discovery and advance small-molecule, antiviral drug candidates thatare potent, have pan-genotypic antiviral activity, offer convenient once-dailyoral dosing and can be combined with other classes of HCV antivirals to combatviral resistance." Presidio's lead HCV candidate, PPI-668, is an NS5A inhibitoractive against all major HCV genotypes, and is being evaluated in a Phase Iclinical trial. The company is also working on PPI-383, a pan-genotypicnon-nucleoside inhibitor that targets the NS5B polymerase. The compound isundergoing IND-enabling studies.
The merger agreement will combine both companies' experience and workin hepatitis C virus therapeutics, as BioCryst also has an NS5B-targetedcompound in production. BCX5191 is a potent HCV NS5B-targeted nucleoside analogthat is expected to enter Phase I trials before the end of the year. Inaddition, BioCryst's portfolio also includes a plasma kallikrein inhibitor forthe treatment of hereditary angioedema; peramivir, a viral neuraminidaseinhibitor for treating influenza; and ulodesine, a purine nucleoside phosphorylasefor the treatment of gout. Together, the combined organization will have avariety of compounds in development in HCV and orphan diseases.
"We're creating this new company to pursue the developmentand commercialization of antiviral and orphan drugs. Presidio brings excitingHCV assets to the new company, and a highly experienced scientific team with aproven track record in antiviral drug discovery and development," Jon P.Stonehouse, president and CEO of BioCryst, said in a statement. "Each of ourHCV antivirals works via a different targeting mechanism and each is suitablefor development in combination regimens with other classes of HCV inhibitors.The diversity of our HCV portfolio reduces our clinical development risk anddefines this new company as a serious competitor in the development of orallyadministered, safe and effective combination therapies for hepatitis C."