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Alpine Immune Sciences boosts prospects with Nivalis merger

Published on 20/04/17 at 09:50am

Alpine Immune Sciences has agreed a deal to merge with Nivalis Therapeutics, in an all-stock deal. The merger sees Alpine shareholders possessing 74% of the combined company while Nivalis will acquire approximately 25%. The deal will create a biotech with cash $90 million in cash reserves and a stock market listing.

Nivalis has been struggling since its lead cystic fibrosis drug failed in a Phase 2 test, back in November of last year. The failure led to a dramatic jettison of staff, with its CEO, its CMO and 80% of its staff shown the door. It reduced the biotech to a skeleton-staff of only five members, while it actively sought out a strategic transaction from interested parties.

In the end, of the 80 interested parties, Alpine succeeded in agreeing a deal. The agreement is thought to have been reached due to Alpine’s available capital, boosted by further investment of $17 million from Frazier Healthcare Partners, Alpine BioVentures and OrbiMed Advisors.

“We believe this transaction with Alpine is an exciting path forward to advance important new therapies for patients and to create significant value for shareholders,” said Howard Furst, Chairman of the Board of Nivalis. “Alpine, which has discovered novel ways to target the immune synapse, is led by a solid and experienced management team that has successfully brought immunotherapies to market.”

The next step will see Alpine use the newly injected cash to take candidates through to trial stage. Alpine plans to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial with its first compound, a dual ICOS/CD28 antagonist engineered for use in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, in the second half of 2018.

“This merger provides a unique opportunity to accelerate the development of our novel immunotherapy platform focused on both inflammation and immuno-oncology,” said Mitchell H. Gold, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alpine Immune Sciences. “We look forward to building on our early success by taking multiple novel programs into the clinic to help patients with significant medical needs.”

Ben Hargreaves

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