A year after its proposed $81 million acquisition deal with a Korean company fell through, Durham, N.C.-based Trimeris has struck an all-stock merger pact with Synageva, a Lexington, Mass.-based biotech that specializes in developing drugs for rare diseases, according to FierceBiotech.
Synageva's management will stay in control of the merged operation, gaining Trimeris' Fuzeon, a marketed HIV drug partnered with Roche that has delivered disappointing earnings in the past, and gaining a public listing at a time when IPOs have proven hard for biotechs to pull off.
"Since launching Synageva in 2008, we have made tremendous progress in building a promising pipeline of product candidates targeted at rare and devastating diseases," said CEO Sanj K. Patel. "This transaction gives us access to significant financial resources while maintaining our focus on the goal of bringing our clinical development programs to commercialization as soon as possible." Synageva's lead program is SBC-102, an enzyme replacement therapy for LAL Deficiency.
Trimeris will issue shares of its common stock to Synageva stockholders; Trimeris shareholders will own 25% and Synageva stockholders will own approximately 75% of the combined company’s shares. Dow Jones reported Trimeris has a market value of slightly more than $63 million.
The Durham biotech has traveled a rocky road over the past five years, enduring severe cutbacks and struggling to work out an exit strategy. Its buyout deal with Arigene fell through after the Korean company couldn't come up with the cash to complete the purchase. But the derailed pact reportedly left Trimeris with a $12 million payout.
The combined company will be named Synageva BioPharma and will operate under the leadership of the Synageva management team with Patel serving as president and CEO. The company's board of directors will have representatives from both the existing Synageva and Trimeris boards.
The merger will create a publicly-traded company focused on the development of novel therapeutics for patients with rare diseases and unmet medical need.
Trimeris CEO Martin Mattingly said, "The rare disease space offers very attractive opportunities for success due to the absence of effective therapies, the relatively small clinical trials and the faster path to commercialization. The combined company will have a clinical stage asset with ownership of worldwide commercial rights, a portfolio of additional rare disease programs, substantial financial resources and a strong management team with prior experience in successfully bringing rare disease products to market."