Oncothyreon purchases Alpine Biosciences for US$27m in stock

Acquires protocell technology to develop new product candidates for the treatment of cancer and rare diseases

Oncothyreon, a Seattle, US-based biotechnology company specialising in the development of therapeutic products for the treatment of cancer, has purchased Alpine Biosciences, also of Seattle, for about US$27m in stock.

Alpine Biosciences is 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 use the protocell technology to develop new product candidates for the treatment of cancer and rare diseases, either on its own or with partners.

The company issued approximately 9.3 million shares in exchange for all of the outstanding stock of Alpine Biosciences.

'We believe the acquisition of Alpine and its protocell technology brings to Oncothyreon a delivery platform with the potential to revolutionise multiple therapeutic fields,' said Robert Kirkman, President and Chief Executive 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.

The acquisition is a significant step towards achieving our vision of building a fully integrated biotechnology company

'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, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Alpine, will join Oncothyreon as Executive Vice President and General Manager with primary responsibility for the protocell development programme.

Venkatesan said: '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.'

Oncothyreon has reported a loss from operations, which narrowed from $18m in 2013 to $7.8m, for the three months ended 30 June.

Net loss for the six months to 30 June was $15.6m compared with $24.7m in the same period in 2013. The company said the decrease in net loss was due to lower research and development costs primarily attributable to an upfront payment of $10m to Array BioPharma in June 2013.

Companies