Antisoma acquires cancer company Aptamera
acquire Aptamera in an £11.5 million (€16.5 million) deal, which
aims to pioneer a new drug therapy in the emerging new area of
The acquisition includes Aptamera's novel aptamer drug to Antisoma's pipeline. The drug has shown during Phase I trials, promising anticancer effects and more importantly, a lack of side effects that continue to blight present day cancer treatments.
Aptamers are drugs made up of a short sequence of nucleotides, the building blocks found in DNA and RNA, with modifications that cause the drug molecule to fold into a stable three-dimensional structure. Structures can be produced that interact with particular proteins, allowing aptamers to be used as specific inhibitors of a protein's function.
In December 2004, Eyetech and Pfizer's Macugen for 'wet' age-related macular degeneration (AMD) became the first aptamer drug to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Aptamera's aptamer drug AGRO100 targets nucleolin, a protein found on the surface of many types of cancer cell. Currently, AGRO100 has US orphan drug status in pancreatic cancer with renal cancer and acute myeloid leukaemia also potential indications. Antisoma will develop AGRO100 independently, outside its alliance with Roche.
Commenting on the transaction, Glyn Edwards, CEO of Antisoma, said: "The acquisition will crystallise our dual development and commercialisation strategy, whereby we gain returns from large market products through our alliance with Roche whilst retaining full rights to promising niche products such as Aptamera's AGRO100."
Under the terms of the agreement, Antisoma will issue to Aptamera's shareholders up to 66,500,100 ordinary shares valued at £11.47 million.
Aptamera is being acquired on a cash and debt-free basis and Antisoma's operating loss for the year to 30 June 2004 amounted to £3.13 million. Net assets at that date amounted to £29.49 million. The audited loss for Aptamera for the year ended 31 December 2003 was $2.79 million. The net liabilities of the Aptamera Group at the same date were $1.97 million.