Seattle in $614m move for Cascadian Therapeutics

pharmafile | January 31, 2018 | News story | Sales and Marketing Cascadian Theapeutics, HER2, Seattle Genetics, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

Things don’t always go quite according to plan in the biotech world – something both Seattle Genetics and Cascadian Therapeutics know only too well.

Seattle Genetics was thwarted in its attempted $2 billion licensing deal with Immunomedics, for its lead solid-tumour drug, by activist investors that weren’t prepared to accept the deal offered by the former company.

Cascadian’s road has also involved a certain degree of drama, with the failure of its cancer vaccines, including Stimuvax, necessitating a complete facelift – leading to the company changing its previous name, Oncothyreon.

Both companies have now agreed to a $614 million buyout by Seattle, in an attempt to turn the corner for the Seattle-based biotechs.

Seattle gains access to tucatinib, a HER2 inhibitor, that performed well in Phase Ib trials across multiple cancer indications. It was able to show benefits in HER2 positive metastatic breast cancer patients, with or without brain metastases. As well as this, it has been granted FDA orphan drug designation for the treatment of HER2 positive metastatic colorectal cancer.

In the press release announcing the acquisition, Clay Siegall, CEO of Seattle, made reference to the fact that Cascadian also possesses a preclinical immuno-oncology agent – signalling that tucatinib is not the only reason the biotech sought out the acquisition.

“This acquisition would enhance our late-stage clinical pipeline with a potentially best-in-class, orally available and highly selective TKI for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer,” said Siegall. “Tucatinib would complement our existing pipeline of targeted cancer therapies, provide a third late-stage opportunity for a commercial product in solid tumours and expand our global efforts in breast cancer. It also leverages our broad expertise and resources to advance and expand the tucatinib program for patients.”

For Cascadian, it represents a turnaround after its previous struggles – managing to secure a buyout at a 69% premium on its share price as of yesterday.

The deal appears to be a good deal all-round, but there was still a $17 million provision included should troubles occur during the process and Cascadian decide to back out of the deal – perhaps Seattle has learnt from having its fingers burned by Immunomedics.

Ben Hargreaves

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