Avalanche Biotechnologies, and Annapurna Therapeutics SAS a privately held biopharmaceutical company, have announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement providing for the acquisition of all outstanding shares of Annapurna by Avalanche in exchange for approximately 17.6 million newly issued shares of Avalanche common stock. Upon completion of the proposed acquisition, existing Avalanche shareholders will own 62.5% of the combined company and Annapurna shareholders will own 37.5% of the combined company (calculated on a treasury method basis).
Upon completion of the proposed acquisition, the combined company’s pipeline will consist of Avalanche’s existing ophthalmic programs and four new gene therapy based programs, which are focused on Alpha1-antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency, cardiomyopathy associated with Friedreich’s ataxia, hereditary angioedema and severe allergies. The combined company will be headquartered in Menlo Park, California. Avalanche had approximately $258 million in cash as of December 31, 2015, which is expected to be sufficient to fund the combined company’s programs for at least the next 36 months.
Paul B. Cleveland, president and chief executive officer of Avalanche, will serve as the chief executive officer of the combined company, and Amber Salzman, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Annapurna, will become president and chief operating officer of the combined company. Both will serve on the combined company’s board of directors.
“This transaction creates the opportunity to build a leading gene therapy company with an extensive pipeline and significant scientific, financial and human resources,” said Mr. Cleveland. “I have tremendous respect for Annapurna’s commitment to high level research and development and we are looking forward to working together to drive our combined current programs forward. At the same time, we are seeking to expand our pipeline further through additional licenses and acquisitions that complement our expertise in vector development and optimization platforms, process development and manufacturing.”
“Our businesses are highly complementary, and this transaction enables us to combine the best assets of both companies as we drive toward the development of new gene therapies in multiple disease areas, including rare diseases,” said Dr. Salzman. “This transaction provides the capabilities required to bring promising treatments to clinical practice.”