Apthera, Inc., has announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation under which RXi will acquire Apthera.
Under the terms of the agreement, Apthera shareholders will initially receive approximately 4.8 million shares of RXi's common stock. Apthera's stockholders will also be entitled to contingent payments based on the achievement of certain development and commercial milestones relating to Apthera's NeuVax™ product candidate.
Dr. Mark Schwartz, President and CEO of Apthera, will join RXi as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Mark Ahn, currently a director of RXi, will be the President and Chief Executive Officer.
"This merger will provide significant experience and support for moving our late stage HER2 direct breast cancer drug, NeuVax™ into phase III in the first half of 2012," commented Dr. Mark Schwartz, President and CEO of Apthera. "This is a key milestone for the company, and we look forward to accelerating our work on this exciting late stage development program."
"I believe RXi is a merger partner with the skills, resources and enthusiasm necessary to bring our late stage product NeuVax™ forward," commented Ira Leiderman, Chairman of Apthera. "This transaction is a key milestone in this exciting program targeting a major unmet medical need."
NeuVax™, a peptide-based immunotherapy for low-to-intermediate HER2+ breast cancer patients not eligible for Herceptin®, is expected to enter Phase III clinical trials in the first half of 2012 under an FDA approved Special Protocol Assessment (SPA).