CELL AND GENE THERAPY
Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc. | September 21, 2022
Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc. a leading late-stage, clinical biotechnology company advancing an integrated and sustainable pipeline of genetic therapies for rare childhood disorders with high unmet need, and Renovacor, Inc. a biotechnology company focused on delivering innovative precision therapies to improve the lives of patients and families battling genetically-driven cardiovascular and mechanistically-related diseases, today announced a definitive agreement under which Rocket will acquire Renovacor in an all-stock transaction for an implied value of approximately $2.60 per share, based on the volume weighted average trading price of Rocket shares of $15.51 for the 30 trading days through and including Monday, September 19, 2022. The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction, which is currently expected to close by the first quarter of 2023.
“The acquisition of Renovacor aligns with our strategy to expand our leadership position in AAV-based gene therapy for cardiac disease and gives us a perfect opportunity to continue on our mission to transform the lives of heart failure patients through the power of gene therapy. Building on our success in Danon Disease to date, I am particularly excited to expand our cardiology focus and capabilities and address a clear unmet medical need in BAG3-associated dilated cardiomyopathy. By combining Renovacor’s compelling preclinical work with our joint clinical, regulatory and CMC expertise, we believe we will be well-positioned to bring the highest impact gene therapy with the best chance for success to these patients in the most productive and efficient manner possible.”
Gaurav Shah, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Rocket
Dr. Shah continued, “Given the positive pediatric safety data previously announced from our Phase 1 RP-A501 Danon Disease program, and the upcoming pediatric efficacy data and longer-term adult cohort data we anticipate presenting at the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) Scientific Meeting at the end of this month, this strategic acquisition gives us what we believe is the broadest platform in the field to address these devastating rare cardiac diseases. Furthermore, the acquisition will bring to Rocket key personnel, namely a team of leading cardiology drug development experts, critical capabilities, and valuable IP to support continued development of the BAG3 as well as other potential cardiac programs, including a gene therapy research collaboration for arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy.”
Renovacor’s most advanced program, REN-001, is an AAV-based gene therapy targeting BAG3-associated dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a severe form of heart failure. BAG3-DCM represents a significant unmet medical need in a patient population with rapidly progressive cardiac dysfunction in whom no treatments targeting the underlying mechanism of disease exist. Renovacor has deep technical expertise in the development of precision therapies that address genetically driven cardiac diseases. Further, Renovacor is supported by world-class scientific collaborators, a robust intellectual property portfolio and personnel with expertise in BAG3-DCM. These assets and capabilities, all together, represent tremendous value and will enhance Rocket’s leading position in cardiac AAV-based gene therapy.
“Renovacor has made tremendous progress in advancing targeted gene therapies to address the high unmet medical needs of patients living with genetically driven forms of heart disease,” said Magdalene Cook, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Renovacor. “Our experienced team is excited to join Rocket in a shared vision of broadening patient access to precision medicines for cardiovascular disease and addressing common barriers jointly. We look forward to combining the considerable resources and expertise of Renovacor and Rocket in creating a category leader in the precision cardiology field. As a result of this combination, we will be suspending current guidance regarding preclinical and clinical timelines for our programs as we evaluate these items with the Rocket team.”
It is currently anticipated that the transaction will close by the first quarter of 2023, subject to approval by Renovacor and Rocket shareholders, receipt of any required customary regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. RTW Investments, LP, a significant shareholder of both Rocket and Renovacor, has entered into a voting agreement with Renovacor, pursuant to which they have agreed, among other things, and subject to the terms and conditions of the agreement, to vote in favor of the Renovacor acquisition as a Rocket stockholder.
SVB Securities is serving as exclusive financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP is serving as legal counsel to Rocket. Wells Fargo Securities is serving as exclusive financial advisor and Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP is serving as legal counsel to Renovacor.
About Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Rocket Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is advancing an integrated and sustainable pipeline of genetic therapies that correct the root cause of complex and rare childhood disorders. The Company’s platform-agnostic approach enables it to design the best therapy for each indication, creating potentially transformative options for patients afflicted with rare genetic diseases. Rocket's clinical programs using lentiviral vector (LVV)-based gene therapy are for the treatment of Fanconi Anemia (FA), a difficult to treat genetic disease that leads to bone marrow failure and potentially cancer, Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency-I (LAD-I), a severe pediatric genetic disorder that causes recurrent and life-threatening infections which are frequently fatal, and Pyruvate Kinase Deficiency (PKD), a rare, monogenic red blood cell disorder resulting in increased red cell destruction and mild to life-threatening anemia. Rocket’s first clinical program using adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapy is for Danon Disease, a devastating, pediatric heart failure condition.
Renovacor is a biotechnology company focused on delivering innovative precision therapies to improve the lives of patients and families battling genetically-driven cardiovascular and mechanistically-related diseases. The company’s lead program in BAG3-associated dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) uses gene transfer technology to address the monogenic cause of this severe form of heart failure. Renovacor’s vision is to bring life-changing therapies to patients living with serious genetic cardiovascular and related diseases, by developing medicines that target the underlying cause of disease and provide a transformative benefit and significant improvement to quality of life.
CELL AND GENE THERAPY
BioAge Labs, Inc. | October 14, 2022
BioAge Labs, Inc. a privately held clinical-stage biotechnology company developing therapeutics that target the molecular causes of aging to extend healthy human lifespan, announced that it will present updates on its NLRP3 inhibitor program at two upcoming conferences in the United States, Neurodegeneration Targets and the Inflammasome Therapeutics Summit, and at the BIO-Europe 2022 conference in Leipzig, Germany. BioAge is developing its novel, proprietary class of NLRP3 inhibitors, which have distinct structural and biological properties and include molecules that penetrate the blood–brain barrier, for neurodegenerative and neurosensory disorders associated with aging.
“Our family of potent, structurally differentiated NLRP3 inhibitors demonstrates BioAge’s capability to discover novel compounds for promising targets emerging from our discovery platform. I am excited about the potential of these drugs to treat diseases driven by brain aging, and our team is looking forward to the opportunity to share recent data from this program at multiple important scientific gatherings.”
BioAge CEO and co-founder Kristen Fortney, PhD
At the inaugural Neurodegeneration Targets meeting hosted by Cambridge Healthtech Institute [link], Rusty Montgomery, PhD, Vice President, Biology, will deliver a talk titled “Identification of a Novel Class of Highly Potent, CNS-Penetrant NLRP3-Specific Inhibitors with Excellent Drug-Like Physical Features” in Boston, MA on Oct. 20, 2022. Kevin Willhelmsen, PhD, Associate Director of Immunology, will present on the same topic at the Inflammasome Therapeutics Summit [link] in Boston on Nov. 29, 2022.
In addition, at BIO-Europe [link], Peng Leong, PhD, MBA, Chief Business Officer and Head of Brain Aging at BioAge, will speak on a panel titled “Immuno-inflammation: A Gateway to Therapeutic Areas and New Partners” on Oct. 24, 2022. He will be joined by panelists Vishal Sahni, Director, Corporate Business Development and Strategy at H. Lundbeck A/S; Duncan Emmerton, Executive Director, Pharma Intelligence; and Andrew Mackie, Chief Business Officer, Imcyse.
“The BioAge target discovery platform revealed that NLRP3 activity is correlated with mortality and cognitive decline,” Leong said, “Inhibition of NLRP3 and other mediators of chronic inflammation identified by our platform has the potential to prevent multiple age-related disorders driven by pathologic inflammation.”
Leong will be available at BIO-Europe for potential partnership discussions. Attendees can send meeting requests to BioAge via the contact information in this release.
About BioAge Labs, Inc.
BioAge is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a pipeline of treatments to extend healthy lifespan by targeting the molecular causes of aging. The company uses its discovery platform, which combines quantitative analysis of proprietary longitudinal human samples with detailed health records to map out the key molecular pathways that impact healthy human aging. By targeting the mechanisms of aging with a large and mechanistically diverse portfolio of drugs, BioAge is unlocking opportunities to treat or even prevent age-related disease in entirely new ways. BioAge currently has multiple clinical-stage programs in its growing portfolio targeting muscle, immune, and brain aging. To date, BioAge has raised $127M from Andreessen Horowitz, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and others.
BriaCell Therapeutics Corp. | December 01, 2022
IPA an advanced biotherapeutic research and technology company, announced that BioStrand BV an AI in silico discovery subsidiary of IPA, has entered into a research collaboration and license agreement with BriaCell Therapeutics Corp. a clinical-stage biotechnology company specializing in targeted immunotherapies for cancer.
The collaboration will leverage BioStrand’s LENSai™ software, built upon IPA’s proprietary HYFT™ Universal Fingerprint™ technologies, and will focus on in silico antibody discovery to generate relevant clinical molecules for potential development. Under the terms of the Agreement, BioStrand and BriaCell will collaborate on the design, discovery, and development of anti-cancer antibodies. Upon successful antibody discovery, BioStrand will receive an upfront payment of US$500,000, and will be eligible to receive future success-based development milestones, including those for the submission of Investigational New Drugs clinical milestone payments, and commercial royalties on net sales of products. Further terms are not disclosed.
“We are very excited to begin this program with BriaCell and apply our technology to the development of biologics that may have a huge clinical impact. Shortening timelines, while also integrating as much information as possible upstream to improve the efficiency of the process, is extremely important in the development of highly targeted therapies. It is a step towards realizing our long-term vision of significantly advancing precision medicine.”
Dr. Ingrid Brands, General Manager and co-founder of BioStrand
“We believe that BioStrand’s revolutionary AI-powered technology, combined with its cutting-edge protein engineering platform, will allow us to design and discover potent anti-cancer therapeutics,” stated Miguel A. Lopez-Lago, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of BriaCell. “This approach would complement BriaCell’s current immunotherapy pipeline of innovative anti-cancer therapeutics.”
About BriaCell Therapeutics Corp.
BriaCell is an immuno-oncology-focused biotechnology company developing targeted and effective approaches for the management of cancer.
ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd.
ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd. has several subsidiaries in North America and Europe including entities such as Talem Therapeutics LLC, Biostrand BV, ImmunoPrecise Antibodies Ltd. and ImmunoPrecise Antibodies B.V. The IPA Family is a biotherapeutic research and technology group that leverages systems biology, multi-omics modelling and complex artificial intelligence systems to support its proprietary technologies in bioplatform-based antibody discovery. Services include highly specialized, full-continuum therapeutic biologics discovery, development, and out-licensing to support its business partners in their quest to discover and develop novel biologics against the most challenging targets.