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AOP Orphan spins off 80% stake in Activartis, outlines business strategy

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

AOP Orphan Pharmaceuticals will spin off its 80% stake in Activartis, a Vienna-based biotech with a platform for immune-based cancer vaccines, to a group of private investors.

The dendritic cell-based technology for individualized tumor therapy developed by Activartis represents a unique therapeutic approach. Clinical development is at an advanced stage for glioblastoma, an incurable disease, and data from a multi-centric, prospective trial are expected soon.

“This spinoff has to be seen in the context of our development and commercialization strategy at AOP Orphan and is a consequence of Elan’s offer to acquire AOP Orphan,” said Rudolf Widmann, chief executive officer of AOP Orphan. “The goal of the Elan scenario would have been to pursue a course of rapid territorial expansion and the addition of several new orphan projects. However, AOP was a minor part of Elan’s management strategy, which included four business proposals, the main one being a royalty-based deal. This strategy was turned down by Elan’s shareholders.”

“AOP Orphan is in a financial position to pursue its research programs as a stand-alone company, and the divestment of Activartis allows it to go for a separate global commercial business case for the cancer vaccine program,” he said. “AOP Orphan will continue its research projects as planned in a timely manner and will launch at least two products within three years in the areas of hematology and cardiology.”

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