Israeli drug developer Anchiano Therapeutics Ltd. (Nasdaq: ANCN) (formerly Biocancell) has reached the end of the road 16 years after it was founded. It is merging with clinical-stage biotech company Chemomab Ltd. have announced a merger. The merger will create a public company focused on advancing Chemomab’s lead product, CM-101, for the treatment of fibrosis-related diseases.
Anchiano had been developing a cancer treatment that did not meet its end targets in clinical trials. Since the announcement of the merger, Anchiano's share price has risen 168% to give a market cap of $32 million but is still 50% below its market cap in 2019.
Chemomab will also seek to complete a private placement financing to advance CM-101 into Phase II clinical trials in rare fibrotic indications, as well to further develop Chemomab’s earlier-stage pipeline. Initial efforts will focus on orphan indications including primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and systemic sclerosis (SSc), which are inflammatory-fibrotic diseases affecting multiple organs such as the liver (in PSC) and skin and lungs (in SSc). Both indications have a significant unmet need, with patients suffering from debilitating symptoms and no FDA-approved disease modifying treatment options. The merged company also expects to advance CM-101 into a Phase IIa trial to evaluate the antibody’s anti-fibrotic effect in patients diagnosed with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Anchiano chairman Stan Polovets said, "Following a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, Anchiano’s Board of Directors has concluded that the proposed transaction with Chemomab is in the best interest of our shareholders. Chemomab’s CM-101 has demonstrated positive clinical results, with a novel mechanism of action that has potential to become an important option for patients with debilitating fibrotic diseases. We intend to hold a special meeting of Anchiano’s shareholders in the first quarter of 2021 to vote on this merger."
Chemomab cofounder and CEO Dr. Adi Mor said, "Our lead compound, CM-101, has shown very positive safety and anti-fibrotic biomarker activity in a Phase Ib study, and with the antibody advancing into Phase II trials in two orphan fibrotic indications, we believe it is the right time in our lifecycle to move into the public equity markets. We are excited about the next chapter of growth for Chemomab, and the ability to bring the important effects of CM-101 through clinical development and to patients."
Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will assume the name Chemomab Therapeutics, Ltd and will be led by Chemomab’s management team, headed by Dr. Mor.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 15, 2020
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