MediGene AG to buy U.K.’s Avidex Ltd.

With the acquisition, MediGene will diversify and broaden its drug pipeline with several drug candidates to treat cancer and auto¬immune diseases.

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MUNICH—Biotechnology com­pany MediGene AG has signed an agreement on the acquisition of the privately held biotechnology com­pany Avidex Ltd., based in Oxford, U.K. A purchase price for Avidex Ltd. of approximately €50 mil­lion in the form of new MediGene shares was agreed upon. The com­pany will remain at its premises in Oxford and will be operated as a subsidiary of MediGene.
With the acquisition, MediGene will diversify and broaden its drug pipeline with several drug can­didates to treat cancer and auto­immune diseases, and will add a proprietary technology platform to fuel its future drug pipeline.
The lead product, RhuDex, an orally available CD80 inhibitor, will soon enter a Phase IIa clinical trial for the treatment of rheuma­toid arthritis, and is estimated to achieve annual peak sales of more than €1.5 billion.
Several other drug candidates with "high potential" are currently in research and preclinical devel­opment stages. Additional drug candidates will originate from the monoclonal T cell receptor tech­nology platform (mTCR), on which Avidex already has a partnership with Syngenta AG.
"The acquisition of Avidex is a major step forward for MediGene and makes our portfolio to one of the strongest among the European biotech companies," explains Dr. Peter Heinrich, CEO of MediGene. "Avidex's autoimmune and cancer product portfolio nicely comple­ments our pipeline and offers addi­tional partnering opportunities. Soluble T cell receptors are one of the most modern therapeutic con­cepts for cancer and autoimmune-therapy. With the blockbuster candidate RhuDex, the mTCR platform and the cancer drugs derived from our EndoTAG-plat­form, we are well positioned to fur­ther develop our business beyond our mature products Eligard and Polyphenon, and to take our inno­vative drugs to success."
"[This transaction] will com­bine the world-class research capa­bilities of Avidex with the very strong development and commer­cial expertise in MediGene," adds Jerry Benjamin, general partner of Advent Venture Partners Limited.
With the signing of the share purchase agreement, MediGene intends to acquire 100 percent of the Avidex shares outstanding. As a consideration, the Avidex share­holders will receive approximate­ly 8.2 million MediGene shares. Shareholders owning over 90 percent of the Avidex shares have already agreed on the acquisition.
Upon closing of the transaction which was scheduled for mid-October, Avidex shareholders will own 28 percent of all MediGene shares outstand­ing. The majority of the new shares are subject to a lock-up period of 12 months. Between the signing and closing of the acquisition agree­ment, Avidex's investors were to contribute £3 million in cash to fund Avidex' clinical and preclini­cal development programs. This capital increase led by Advent rais­es Avidex' cash level to approxi­mately €7 million.
To secure additional cash funds for the subsequent development of the acquired projects, MediGene has entered into a step-up financ­ing agreement with Société Générale. Pursuant to the agree­ment, MediGene has the option of successively selling up to two million new shares to Société Générale at a level close to the cur­rent market price within a period of 18 months.

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