BiolineRx Ltd. (Nasdaq: BLRX); TASE:BLRX) has announced the acquisition of Agalimmune Ltd., a private UK-based company with an innovative, anti-cancer immunotherapy platform. BiolineRx is paying $6 million upfront, of which $3 million is in cash and the remainder in BioLineRx shares. Additional future payments may be made based on development and commercial milestones.
This is the first significant move by new BiolineRx CEO Philip Serlin, who replaced Dr. Kinneret Savitsky in the post six months ago.
Agalimmune has developed a new immunotherapy solution for treating cancer. It says that its treatment not only kills the tumor cells at the site of injection, but also brings about a durable, follow-on, anti-metastatic immune response. The treatment has passed stag of trials on animals, and is expected to commence a first-in-man study in patients with solid tumors in the first half of 2018.
At the end of 2016, BiolineRx had $36 million cash. Its market cap is $64 million. It reported today that is made a net loss of $15.8 million in 2016, which compares with a loss of $14.4 million in 2015. The company reported no revenue in either year. R&D expenditure was $11.2 million in 2016, compared with $11.5 million in 2015.
BiolineRx has also announced that it has halted development of its product for treating celiac, which was about to enter a Phase II clinical trial. This means that the two leading products in its pipeline will be cancer therapies, specifically in the area of immunotherapy. Its remaining products are in the pre-clinical trials stage, most of them part of a collaboration with Novartis.
"Immuno-oncology is one of the most promising approaches for the treatment of cancer," Serlin said, "Although a number of current immunotherapies are receiving widespread attention, many solid tumors are still able to evade the immune system's surveillance. Most immunotherapies work best in highly mutated tumors that are infiltrated with immune cells, known as 'hot' tumors. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of tumors are 'cold' tumors, and thus transforming a 'cold' tumor into a 'hot' tumor is a major objective in cancer treatment.
"In this regard, Agalimmune's lead asset, AGI-134, harnesses naturally occurring, pre-existing antibodies to elicit a tumor-specific immune response that is unique to the treated individual and provides a universal, small-molecule approach to personalized immunotherapy. We are enthusiastic to incorporate into our pipeline this promising near-clinical asset, which substantially strengthens our position in the immuno-oncology space." "We are very excited that we found an ideal partner for our promising therapeutic pipeline. We are extremely impressed by BioLineRx's proven drug development capabilities, as well as their meaningful collaborations with global pharmaceutical companies," said Damian Marron, CEO of Agalimmune.
The main shareholders in BiolineRx are Novartis and Senvest Management LLC.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 23, 2017
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017