Aquinox Pharmaceuticals has signed an agreement to acquire biopharmaceutical company Neoleukin Therapeutics.
Neoleukin is involved in the creation of next-generation immunotherapies using de novo protein design technology.
The company applies advanced computational methods for the designing of proteins, which show specific pharmaceutical properties and offer potential therapeutic benefit over native proteins.
Under the merger agreement, Aquinox will purchase all of the outstanding capital stock of Neoleukin in exchange for a combination of common and preferred shares.
Upon completion of the transaction, the former Aquinox stockholders will hold around 61.42% of the combined company’s capital stock, while the former Neoleukin stockholders will own the remaining 38.58% stake.
As per terms of the deal, Aquinox will be rebranded as Neoleukin Therapeutics. Subject to customary legal and regulatory clearances and procedures, the deal is expected to be completed on or about 8 August 2019.
Neoleukin Therapeutics CEO Dr Jonathan Drachman said: “Neoleukin Therapeutics is a new company based on sophisticated computational technology licensed from the Institute for Protein Design and the University of Washington that enables us to design and create de novo proteins as therapeutic candidates.”
The combined entity will involve in the development and commercialisation of computationally-designed protein therapeutics for applications in immuno-oncology, inflammation, and autoimmunity.
NL-201, Neoleukin’s major candidate, is a de novo protein designed to mimic the therapeutic activity of the cytokines interleukin-2 and interleukin-15 to treat different types of cancer by activating both T-cells and NK-cells.
Aquinox president and CEO David Main said: “Following an extensive evaluation and diligence process, the Aquinox Board of Directors concluded that a merger with Neoleukin, with a strong platform technology, seasoned leadership team, and compelling clinical development plan, offered an excellent opportunity to create such value.
“We believe Neoleukin represents an attractive merger partner for Aquinox, offering a novel approach to creating de novo proteins for patients with unmet medical need.”
Aquinox is engaged in the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for inflammation, inflammatory pain and blood cancer applications.