SuperGen to acquire Montigen for $18 M

SuperGen Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Montigen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held oncology-focused drug discovery and development company based in Salt Lake City.

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DUBLIN, Calif.—SuperGen Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Montigen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held oncology-focused drug discovery and development company based in Salt Lake City. Montigen's assets include its research and development team, a proprietary drug discovery technology platform and optimization process called CLIMB, and late-stage preclinical compounds targeting aurora-A kinase and members of the tyrosine kinase receptor family.
Under the agreement, SuperGen will pay Montigen stockholders a total of $18 million upon the closing, consisting of $9 million in cash and $9 million in shares of SuperGen common stock. SuperGen will pay the Montigen stockholders an additional $22 million in shares of SuperGen common stock, contingent upon achievement of specific regulatory milestones. The transaction is expected to close in March 2006.
The acquisition of Montigen is an important part of SuperGen's plans to expand its position in the oncology and hematology markets, according to Dr. James S. Manuso, SuperGen's president and CEO.
"Montigen's capabilities in rapid targeted drug discovery and optimization are expected to generate multiple preclinical development candidates for selection into clinical testing," he says. "We believe this acquisition will add force to our internal preclinical development efforts and will complement our ongoing in-licensing efforts focused on later-stage compounds. "
Montigen's CLIMB drug discovery and optimization process blends computational chemistry with bioassays, bioinformatics and in-vivo model systems to streamline preclinical drug development. Starting with a virtual library consisting of tens of millions of compounds, CLIMB has already yielded a number of sets of preclinical compound classes addressing validated cancer targets. Montigen's virtual modeling and  medicinal chemistry expertise reportedly allows researchers to rapidly generate novel drugs against a variety of disease targets and to identify and validate appropriate leads in less time than traditional processes.
Montigen has late-stage compounds in its preclinical portfolio. These include inhibitors of aurora-A kinase and products which target the tyrosine kinase receptor family. These compounds have shown preclinical activity in solid tumors of several cancer types including breast, colorectal, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate.
"Our common goal is to rapidly discover and develop novel, targeted products for cancer patients." states Dr. David J. Bearss, founder and CSO.  This transaction provides Montigen with access to the resources and infrastructure that will enable us to accelerate our research productivity and maximize the value of our existing and future drugs in development."
At the close of the transaction, Dr. Bearss will join SuperGen as vice president and chief scientist, along with his 12-person research and development team. Montigen's facilities in Salt Lake City will be taken over by SuperGen.  Montigen was founded in 2003 by Dr. Bearss and Dallin M. Anderson, to further develop and commercialize research conducted by Dr. Bearss at the University of Arizona in collaboration with Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, M.D., a scientific advisor to SuperGen and a member of Montigen's scientific advisory board.

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