PlasmaTech Biopharmaceuticals, a Texas-based biopharmaceutical company advancing protein biologic therapies and oncology supportive care products, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Abeona Therapeutics, a company engaged in the development and commercialization of therapies for patients with lysosomal storage diseases. The company will issue to Abeona Therapeutic members a total of 3,979,761 common shares upon closing of the transaction, and up to an additional $9 million in performance milestones, in common stock or cash, at the company’s option.
“We believe this acquisition represents an exciting cornerstone of our strategy to build a world class cell and gene therapy company focused on rare diseases,” said Steven H. Rouhandeh, PlasmaTech’s executive chairman. “Abeona’s programs in MPS IIIb and IIIa address a compelling unmet medical need with breakthrough technology and fundamental core competencies to develop products and accelerate value for patients and shareholders. This acquisition will accelerate development and internationalization of both clinical programs due to increased access to capital and organizational capabilities.
“Importantly, the Abeona operating and scientific teams will remain intact and we believe Tim Miller’s unique blend of experience and capabilities makes him ideal to move the company forward toward our goal of becoming a leader in rare diseases,” said Rouhandeh. “Additionally, Abeona recently closed on $4.8 million in financing from Sanfilippo Foundations worldwide, and have an additional $1 million commitment for manufacturing.”
Tim Miller, Ph.D., president and CEO of Abeona, will succeed Scott Schorer. “Tim Miller brings significant experience and leadership in developing and commercializing novel cell and gene therapies,” said Steven H. Rouhandeh, executive chairman of PlasmaTech. “We want to thank Scott Schorer for his service as PlasmaTech’s CEO, and look forward to his continued contributions to the Alpha-1 program as a consultant to the company.”
“PlasmaTech currently is developing a new generation plasma processing technology which enables and validates orphan proteins requiring periodic treatments,” said Miller. “We will continue to build on these strengths and capabilities, while executing on our world class gene therapy platform to address pressing rare diseases such as Sanfilippo syndrome.”
Abeona Therapeutics is developing gene therapies for patients with rare genetic diseases, with initial therapies being developed for patients with Sanfilippo syndromes (MPS III). The company was formed in early 2013 to help focus the search for a cure for Sanfilippo syndrome and provide a unifying voice between patient advocate groups, researchers, clinicians and investors.
Miller, a co-founder, has over 16 years of scientific research, product development, clinical operations and business development expertise, with a focus on transitioning novel biotherapeutics through preclinical development and into phase I and II human clinical trials. Previously with Juventas Therapeutics, SironRX Therapeutics and Copernicus Therapeutics, Miller has focused on gene therapy and regenerative medicine. Miller has managed all aspects of biotechnology business development, manufacturing of biologics and multiple clinical programs from start-up and has direct experience engaging FDA and NIH advisory agencies on multiple IND submissions.
The board of directors of PlasmaTech Biopharmaceuticals and the managers of Abeona have unanimously approved the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.