AbbVie has announced it will acquire Stemcentrx and its lead late-stage asset rovalpituzumab tesirine (Rova-T), currently in registrational trials for small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Rova-T is a novel biomarker-specific therapy that is derived from cancer stem cells and targets delta-like protein 3 (DLL3) that is expressed in more than 80% of SCLC patient tumors and is not present in healthy tissue. Registrational trials for third-line small cell lung cancer are expected to complete enrollment by the end of 2016.
In phase I/II studies of relapsed SCLC patients who have previously failed one or more standard therapies, Rova-T demonstrated overall response rates of 44% in the patients identified with high expression of DLL3. The expression of DLL3 suggests Rova-T also may be useful across multiple tumor types, including metastatic melanoma, glioblastoma multiforme, prostate, pancreatic and colorectal cancers, where DLL3 expression ranges from 50 to 80%. Rova-T combines a targeted antibody that delivers a cytotoxic agent directly to the DLL3-expressing cancer cells while minimizing toxicity to healthy cells.
"Rova-T is the first predictive biomarker-based therapy associated with drug efficacy in small cell lung cancer, and that is a big deal for this difficult disease," said Charles Rudin, M.D., Ph.D., chief, thoracic oncology service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Beyond Rova-T, Stemcentrx has four novel compounds in clinical trials across several solid tumor indications including triple-negative breast cancer, ovarian cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Stemcentrx has additional preclinical compounds advancing toward clinical trials in 2016 and a proprietary technology platform that leverages stem cell biology to identify and screen potential targets against live tumor tissue to more predictably advance discovery and development of new assets.
AbbVie will acquire Stemcentrx for approximately $5.8 billion in cash and stock. AbbVie will pay approximately $2 billion of the transaction value in cash and fund the remaining portion with stock. In addition, Stemcentrx investors are eligible to receive up to $4 billion in cash for additional, success-based milestone payments for the achievement of certain regulatory and clinical developments.
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, and is expected to close in second-quarter 2016. Upon completion of the transaction, AbbVie intends to execute an accelerated share repurchase program of up to $4 billion of the company's common stock.
AbbVie expects this transaction to be approximately $0.20 dilutive to our ongoing earnings per share in 2016, with accretion beginning in 2020. As a result, AbbVie is updating its 2016 adjusted diluted earnings per share guidance range to $4.62 to $4.82.