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BioAlliance and Topotarget merge to focus on rare cancers

French and Danish firms combine to develop orphan oncology drugs

BioAlliance Topotarget 

French biopharma BioAlliance Pharma and Denmark-based Topotarget are to merge to create one company focused on the development of orphan drugs for rare oncology diseases.

The agreement will see the new company retain the BioAlliance Pharma name, while shareholders of Topotarget will own one third of the shares of the new company, and existing BioAlliance shareholders will hold the remaining two thirds.

In a statement to announce the deal, the companies said the merger “creates a leading orphan oncology company with a highly complementary pipeline of late-stage targeting genuine unmet medical needs”.

Specific pipeline products include Topotarget's belinostat, an inhibitor of histone deacetylase. It is in pre-registration phase in the US for the treatment of relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma for which it is partnered with Spectrum Pharmaceuticals.

BioAlliance's prospects in late-stage development include Livatag, in phase III trials in primary liver cancer, and Validave, which has received fast track status form the US FDA for use in the treatment of oral mucositis induced by anticancer.

The merger follows attempts by other pharma companies to focus on orphan drugs for rare diseases, including Shire's revamp of its business.

These decisions reflect an acknowledgement of the growing value of the rare disease market, which is expected to grow $127bn by 2018, driven by improved regulatory systems and the need for more targeted medicines.

Judith Greciet, who will retain her position as CEO of BioAlliance, said: “The merger with Topotarget will strengthen and diversify our position in rare oncology diseases. It is a unique and timely opportunity to develop an orphan oncology portfolio, which addresses a wider range of life-threatening medical conditions, while creating value for our shareholders”.

It is expected the merger will be completed in summer of this year following extraordinary general meetings at Topotarget and BioAlliance.

Patrick Langlois will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors at BioAlliance Pharma while Topotarget's chair Bo Jesper Hansen will be appointment member of the board of directors at the new company.

Article by
Thomas Meek

16th April 2014

From: Research, Sales

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