Targets acquired

A look at a few recent M&A deals in the pharma world

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Several companies have landed choice deals in the last two months. Caris Life Sciences has snagged Pharmatech, Inc.; Copley Scientific scooped up Novi Systems; Prescient Medicine Holdings Inc. has obtained AutoGenomics Inc.; and Mereo BioPharma Group plc recently completed a merger with OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Caris attains Pharmatech
IRVING, Texas—In early May, Caris announced its acquisition of Pharmatech. The acquisition combines Caris’ highest-quality, industry-leading large-scale molecular profiling services with Pharmatech’s on-demand site activation and patient enrollment system.
In addition to accelerating study recruitment, this complementary pairing will expand the enrollment opportunities for industry-leading clinical trials beyond the handful of “usual suspect” academic medical centers. With Pharmatech’s research-ready oncology network, Caris can connect physicians and patients at hundreds of cancer research centers nationwide, including universities, hospitals and advanced community-based sites.
“This acquisition allows Caris to facilitate interactions between drug developers who are seeking patients with specific cancer profiles and physicians who are seeking new treatment options for their patients,” said David D. Halbert, chairman and CEO of Caris. “In addition, we have developed a new technology that allows us to identify twice as many fusions as with any other technology, assuring that every patient that is a candidate for a trial gets enrolled.”
Caris Molecular Intelligence assesses DNA, RNA and proteins to reveal a molecular profile that can guide more precise and individualized treatment decisions for patients. With the addition of Pharmatech’s research-ready oncology trial network and Just-In-Time model, Caris will have the ability to further serve the physician and patient by bringing them clinical trial options with the patient identification and enrollment completed in as little as 10 days.
“Unfortunately, access to clinical trials for these therapies is not broadly available, and we are seeing low participation rates among cancer patients, primarily due to lack of access to and awareness of both broad molecular profiling and open clinical trials. Caris’ acquisition of Pharmatech will change this, helping to ensure that patients with rare mutations and other biomarkers can readily be identified and connected with emerging therapies that can positively impact their lives,” added Dr. W. Michael Korn, chief medical officer of Caris.

Copley takes Novi
NOTTINGHAM, U.K.—Copley Scientific recently acquired Novi Systems, extending the Copley product range and securing a broader platform for the development of new inhaler testing solutions.
Novi designs and manufactures modular and integrated systems for automated inhaler testing, including the Ictus automated Andersen Cascade Impactor. The well-established Vertus products are flexible, automated shake, fire and flow control systems for delivered dose uniformity and cascade impactor testing of metered-dose inhalers (MDIs), while the DecaVertus sets the benchmark for automated fire to waste, handling up to 10 conventional or breath-actuated MDIs at a time. Both systems enhance the integrity and reproducibility of MDI test data, and reduce the manual labour associated with shaking and firing. The former has recently been enhanced to measure shot weight, and for use with nasal sprays.
“I’m particularly looking forward to working with Adam Smith, who will head up the Automation Division at Copley Scientific, as we continue to develop and evolve our range of advanced inhaler testing solutions,” mentioned Mark Copley, CEO of Copley. “Our combined strengths will undoubtedly provide customers of both companies with new opportunities to streamline and enhance their inhaler testing capabilities.”
Copley supplies equipment for testing MDIs, dry powder inhalers, nebulizers and nasal sprays, including apparatus required by the international pharmacopoeias and regulatory bodies for aerodynamic particle size distribution and delivered dose uniformity measurements.

Prescient Medicine picks up AutoGenomics
HUMMELSTOWN, Pa.—Prescient Medicine acquired in April AutoGenomics, a molecular diagnostics company which has developed and commercialized the INFINITI platform—a 510(k) exempt automated, microarray-based multiplexing diagnostic system with applications in personalized medicine, pain management, cardiovascular health, mental health, women’s health, oncology, infectious diseases and genetic disorders.
The acquisition enables Prescient Medicine to advance the development and commercialization of the INFINITI Neural Response Panel, a novel diagnostic for identifying patients who may be at risk for opioid use disorder (OUD).
The INFINITI Neural Response Panel identifies genetic mutations involved in the brain’s reward pathways associated with increased OUD risk. The FDA has granted the INFINITI Neural Response Panel a Breakthrough Device designation, and the companies intend to pursue a de-novo premarket submission. Prescient Medicine will market the INFINITI Neural Response Panel as LifeKit Predict to provide physicians with objective information to help assess addiction risk.
The AutoGenomics acquisition provides Prescient Medicine with access to the entire INFINITI product portfolio, including the suite of INFINITI analyzers and a menu of over 65 molecular diagnostic tests across critical disease indications, which will complement Prescient Medicine’s LifeKit product line.

Mereo BioPharma completes OncoMed merger
LONDON—Mereo BioPharma has announced that the merger with OncoMed, announced on Dec. 5, 2018, was completed in late April. This follows the approval from the stockholders of OncoMed of the transactions contemplated by the agreement between Mereo and OncoMed.
OncoMed became a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Mereo, following the effective filing of a certificate of merger with the Secretary of State of the State of Delaware. In connection with completion of the merger, Mereo issued 24,783,320 new ordinary shares to Citibank, N.A., London Branch, as custodian, and willed the bank to deliver 4,956,664 American Depositary Shares (ADSs) to former OncoMed stockholders, each ADS representing five new shares. In accordance with the merger agreement, Michael Wyzga and Dr. Deepa Pakianathan have become non-executive directors of Mereo.
“As we look forward to the remainder of 2019, we continue to anticipate several important data points from our two rare disease products. These include initial six-month data from the open-label arm our Phase 2b dose-ranging study for BPS-804 in the treatment osteogenesis imperfecta in Q2 2019, 12-month data for this program in Q4 2019, and data from our Phase 2 dose-ranging study with MPH-966 for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), which we expect around the end of 2019,” said Mereo CEO Dr. Denise Scots-Knight.
“Partnering discussions for BCT-197 for severe exacerbations of COPD are progressing following our successful end of Phase 2 Type B meeting with the FDA,” Scots-Knight added. “We also intend to initiate partnering discussions for navicixizumab, which has generated encouraging clinical data in ovarian cancer and for BGS-649 in hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism in parallel with the regulatory interactions to determine the next development steps.”

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