Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc. have completed the business combination between the two companies. The combined company, which will retain the name Tekmira, will be a global leader in the field of RNA interference therapeutics.
As part of the business combination, a $10.0 million private placement with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Alnylam) and an affiliate of F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd. (Roche) has also been completed at a price of $2.40 per Tekmira share.
The new Tekmira will focus its business on advancing a pipeline of novel therapeutic products, including its lead RNAi therapeutic candidate, ApoB SNALP, as a treatment for hypercholesterolemia.
The company will have rights to develop a total of seven RNAi therapeutic products based on access to Alnylam's intellectual property. The company expects to file an Investigational New Drug application for ApoB SNALP in the next 12 months.
The new Tekmira will also continue to support its alliance partners that have licensed the company's lipid-based nanoparticle delivery technology in the field of RNAi therapeutics.
Alnylam has taken a broad license to the new Tekmira's intellectual property and has sub-licensed the technology to Roche and has provided access to the technology to other companies, including Regulus Therapeutics.
The new Tekmira is eligible to receive up to US$16.0 million in milestones on each and every RNAi therapeutic advanced by Alnylam or its partners, including Roche, that utilizes the company's technology, as well as royalties on product sales.
Merck & Co., Inc. has also taken a license to certain of the company's intellectual property and Tekmira has the opportunity to form new alliances in the RNAi field.
Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's President and CEO said, "The new Tekmira has a tremendous opportunity to be a leader in the advancement of novel RNAi therapeutic products. We will also continue to support and build upon our world-class alliance partners as they advance products based on our lipid nanoparticle delivery technology."
RNAi drugs have the potential to treat human disease by "switching-off" genes that cause disease. The technology represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery and was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.