OPKO Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK), a multinational biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company, today announced the acquisition of ModeX Therapeutics, Inc. a privately held biotechnology company focused on developing innovative multi-specific immune therapies for cancer and infectious diseases. OPKO acquired ModeX for $300 million in OPKO common stock.
Founded in October 2020 with headquarters in Natick, Mass., ModeX Therapeutics has developed highly flexible multi-specific antibody technology platforms with broad targeting and functional capabilities, simpler manufacturing and potentially better specificity and safety, providing significant differentiation from competing platforms. The design of these multi-specifics is amenable to gene-based delivery by mRNA or DNA vectors. The ModeX product portfolio includes cancer immunotherapies that combine four specificities into one protein to improve targeting and immune killing, as well as masking or “stealth” technology to improve tumor-specific killing and reduce side effects. For viral diseases, the lead targets of a broad and potent multi-specific antibody portfolio include HIV and SARS-CoV-2. A vaccine for Epstein-Barr virus is also in development.
The acquisition of ModeX Therapeutics significantly broadens our technology foundation and expands our product pipeline to include multi-specific multi-functional antibodies focused on a range of cancers and infectious diseases, with applicability to other therapeutic areas. We believe the promise of better outcomes for patients treated with these multi-specific antibodies represents a next generation of large molecule therapeutics and the next chapter of OPKO, We welcome ModeX’s co-founders Dr. Zerhouni and Dr. Nabel, as well as Alexis Borisy to our Board of Directors, and Dr. Zerhouni and Dr. Nabel to OPKO’s executive management team. The ModeX executive team brings to OPKO a wealth of experience, knowledge and industry contacts, which we expect will have a tremendous long-term positive impact on OPKO as we advance their technology and product pipeline and leverage potential synergies with our current portfolio in diagnostics and therapeutics.”
Phillip Frost, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OPKO.
Elias Zerhouni, M.D., Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of ModeX, has been appointed President and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of OPKO. Dr. Zerhouni brings extensive experience in academia, government and industry as a leading authority on emerging trends and issues in medical care and biomedical research and development. A physician scientist with an academic background in imaging and biomedical engineering, Dr. Zerhouni most recently served as President of Global Research & Development and Executive Vice President of Sanofi. Dr. Zerhouni also served as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Senior Fellow for Global Health Research at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Presidential U.S. Envoy for Science and Technology, and Professor and Chair of the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering, Executive Vice Dean and Dean for Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Zerhouni was elected to the National Academy of Medicine and to the National Academy of Engineering. He serves on the Board of the Lasker Foundation, the Foundation for NIH, the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative and Research!America. He received the 2017 Scripps Executive of the Year Award for the pharmaceutical industry and the French Legion of Honor in 2008. He has been a director of Danaher Corporation since 2009.
Being part of OPKO represents a transformative opportunity for both companies. We anticipate it will accelerate ModeX’s product pipeline focused on unmet needs in oncology and infectious diseases and the development of our innovative technologies, and also will take advantage of synergies with OPKO’s programs, ModeX has operated quietly since we were founded 18 months ago on the basis of over 10 years of prior foundational work. We have assembled a world-class executive team with outstanding public and private sector leadership experience to advance our programs. Our lead drug candidate is already in the clinic while several others in late preclinical stages are expected to enter clinical development in 2023. We were enticed to join OPKO by its leadership’s vision and enthusiasm for strengthening our mutual potential for breakthrough innovation.”
Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of ModeX, has been appointed Chief Innovation Officer of OPKO and joins OPKO’s Board of Directors. Dr. Nabel, a renowned virologist and immunologist, served as Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Vice President of Sanofi where he directed the breakthrough laboratory that developed tri-specific products now in early clinical development. He is the founding director of the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center, working on vaccines and broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV, influenza, SARS, Ebola, Chikungunya and Epstein-Barr virus. He was previously an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Michigan. In recognition of his expertise at the forefront of virology, immunology, gene therapy and molecular biology, Dr. Nabel was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, is a fellow of the American Association of Physicians and the American Academy of Arts Sciences, and was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Builders of Science Award from Research!America.
Alexis Borisy, the Lead Independent Director of ModeX, also joins OPKO’s Board of Directors. Mr. Borisy is a leading biotechnology entrepreneur and investor with more than 25 years of experience, including founding, serving as Chief Executive Officer and/or Chairman of nine NASDAQ-listed companies. He co-founded and served as either the Chief Executive Officer or Chairman of Blueprint Medicines, Foundation Medicine, Relay Therapeutics, Tango Therapeutics, Celsius Therapeutics and CombinatoRx.
With the additions of Dr. Zerhouni, Dr. Nabel and Mr. Borisy to OPKO’s Board, the number of Directors expands to 13.
About OPKO Health, Inc.
OPKO is a multinational biopharmaceutical and diagnostics company that seeks to establish industry-leading positions in large, rapidly growing markets by leveraging its discovery, development, and commercialization expertise and novel and proprietary technologies.