Biotechnology ccompany OvaScience and clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm Millendo Therapeutics have signed a merger agreement to create a rare endocrine disease company.
Millendo is engaged in the development of novel treatments for orphan endocrine diseases.
The combined company will further advance Millendo’s pipeline of transformative treatments for orphan endocrine diseases.
The merged firm will operate under the name Millendo Therapeutic, after securing shareholder approval.
Millendo president and CEO Dr Julia Owens said: “We are excited about the opportunities created by this merger, as it positions us to become a leader in rare endocrine diseases with the funding needed to pursue the potential approval and commercialization of our first-in-class programs.”
An investor consortium, including New Enterprise Associates, Frazier Healthcare Partners, Roche Venture Fund, Innobio managed by Bpifrance, Osage University Partners, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Adams Street Partners, and Longwood Fund, has agreed to invest up to $30m in the combined firm.
The funding will be used to further develop Millendo’s major assets such as livoletide (AZP-531) and nevanimibe (ATR-101).
Livoletide is an unacylated ghrelin analogue being developed to treat Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disease characterized by hyperphagia and chronic unrelenting hunger.
Livoletide, which is expected to advance into a pivotal Phase 2b/3 study in the first quarter of 2019, showed positive effects in improving hyperphagia and food-seeking behaviors in a Phase 2 study in Prader-Willi syndrome.
Millendo is also involved in the development of nevanimibe, an ACAT1 inhibitor to treat two orphan adrenal diseases such as classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and endogenous Cushing’s Syndrome.
Nevanimibe showed positive proof-of-concept and a favorable safety profile in an open-label Phase 2 trial in CAH. It is expected to advance into a Phase 2b study in the third quarter of this year.
Subject to the approval of OvaScience shareholders and other customary conditions, the deal is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.
OvaScience CEO Dr Christopher Kroeger said: “Following an extensive and thorough review of strategic alternatives, we believe that this merger with Millendo is the best path forward and has the potential to deliver significant and immediate value to OvaScience shareholders.”