Oncothyreon Inc. (NASDAQ: ONTY), a biotechnology company specializing in the development of innovative therapeutic products for the treatment of cancer, today announced that it has acquired Alpine Biosciences, Inc., of Seattle, Washington, a privately held biotechnology company developing protocells, a nanoparticle platform technology designed to enable the targeted delivery of multiple therapeutic agents, including nucleic acids, proteins, peptides and small molecules. Oncothyreon intends to utilize the protocell technology to develop new product candidates for the treatment of cancer and rare diseases, either on its own or with partners.
"We believe the acquisition of Alpine and its protocell technology brings to Oncothyreon a delivery platform with the potential to revolutionize multiple therapeutic fields," said Robert L. Kirkman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Oncothyreon. "The acquisition is a significant step towards achieving our vision of building a fully integrated biotechnology company, with the capability of developing new proprietary product candidates to complement our strong existing clinical pipeline. As an oncology company, we are particularly intrigued by potential applications in cancer and cancer immunotherapy. We also intend to seek partners to work with us to develop product candidates in other fields, including gene therapy, siRNA and mRNA therapy, enzyme replacement and the targeted delivery of toxins."
Jay Venkatesan, M.D., Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alpine, will join Oncothyreon as Executive Vice President and General Manager with primary responsibility for the protocell development program. Dr. Venkatesan said, "I am looking forward to joining Oncothyreon to help transform the treatment of cancer and rare diseases. I believe Oncothyreon's technical and clinical expertise, as well as existing infrastructure, will help speed the development of the protocell technology to rapidly bring products into clinical development. I also believe in the potential of Oncothyreon's existing pipeline, including ONT-380 for HER2-positive breast cancer, and the immunotherapeutic product candidates, tecemotide and ONT-10." Alpine was founded by Mitchell H. Gold, M.D., in 2012.
Protocells were developed by a multidisciplinary team of scientists at the University of New Mexico (UNM), the UNM Cancer Center, and Sandia National Laboratories. The UNM Cancer Center is one of just 68 premier cancer centers in the nation recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for its scientific excellence, contributions to cancer research and delivery of innovative treatment to patients in New Mexico. Sandia National Laboratories, also located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a Department of Energy-owned national laboratory with significant expertise in material science technologies for biotechnology applications.
"We believe that this combination of talent and resources will accelerate the clinical development of the protocell technology and will lead to better therapies for currently intractable diseases," said Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer of STC.UNM, the technology-transfer and economic-development organization of UNM, which began collaborating with Alpine Biosciences on the protocell platform in 2013. "We look forward to collaborating with Oncothyreon in the future as they advance this platform."
Upon closing of the transaction, Oncothyreon issued approximately 9.3 million shares of Oncothyreon common stock in exchange for all of the outstanding stock of Alpine Biosciences. The issued shares represent approximately ten percent of Oncothyreon's fully-diluted common stock on a post-transaction basis. The shares are subject to certain resale restrictions. Based on the closing price of Oncothyreon shares on August 8, 2014, the merger consideration is valued at approximately $27 million.