Innate Immunotherapeutics shifts market focus via proposed biotech acquisition

Innate Immunotherapeutics ASX IIL Amplia Therapeutics biotech acquisition

Innate Immunotherapeutics (ASX: IIL) is proposing to absorb Amplia Therapeutics, a privately-owned Melbourne-based biopharmaceutical company, via an all-share deal to acquire the company including its ongoing highly-prized anti-cancer therapies.

The move effectively repositions the company’s operations and current market standing within immune-oncology, as part of what Innate CEO Simon Wilkinson says is a “logical move” for the company.

Innate recently ceased clinical development of its MIS416 drug candidate for multiple sclerosis as part of an “anti-cancer co-therapy”, to focus exclusively on immune-oncology and what Mr Wilkinson thinks could be a brighter and more commercially fruitful future.

“Refocusing on this existing area of our business is a logical move for the company and we are particularly excited to be pursuing certain cancers where the immune system could play an important role in successful treatment strategies,” said Mr Wilkinson.

A closer look at Amplia

Amplia possessed two in-licensed “FAK targeting” drug candidates, currently referred to as AMP886 and AMP945, obtained from Cancer Research Technology Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, although the drug candidates were originally developed by the Melbourne-based Cancer Therapeutics Cooperative Research Centre (CTx).

In acquiring Amplia, Innate will acquire that company’s Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) cancer programme, a potentially effective cancer therapy with the potential to reduce the size of malignant tumours for most, if not all, cancer types.

The announced deal remains subject to approval by both Innate and Amplia shareholders.

If the formalities are completed and the deal is approved, Amplia shareholders will own 45% of the total issued capital of Innate and Innate expects to be cashed up to the tune of A$2 million with zero debt on its balance sheet.

As per normal in deals of this nature, the Innate is expected to welcome several members of Amplia’s management team onto its own Board.

With the deal now agreed and provisionally finalised, Innate expects to utilise its existing financial resources to review the viability of progressing its prior MIS416 clinical programme, but also to focus on advancing the preclinical development of at least one of the two Amplia drug candidates with a view to being “Phase 1 ready within approximately 12 months,” according to an Innate statement.

Innate has also confirmed that shareholder approval of the proposed transaction will be sought at a General Meeting, scheduled for 26 April 2018 in Sydney, with a supplemental vote seeking a 10:1 consolidation of the issued capital of the company.

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