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SuperGen and Astex to merge

Cancer specialists SuperGen and Astex Therapeutics have agreed to merge

Oncology specialists, US-based SuperGen, and Astex Therapeutics, a privately held UK firm, have agreed to merge.

The combined entity, to be named Astex Pharmaceuticals, is expected to be listed on NASDAQ under the symbol ASTX.

It plans to leverage a revenue stream from its product Dacogen, marketed in North America by Eisai and in the rest of the world by Johnson & Johnson. The combined company's clinical pipeline will include seven drugs in development – four of which are currently in or entering into phase II clinical trials and three of which are partnered with large pharmaceutical companies.

James S J Manuso, chairman, president and CEO of SuperGen, will become chairman and CEO of Astex Pharmaceuticals. Harren Jhoti, CEO of Astex Therapeutics, will become president and a member of the board of directors of the new company.

Manuso said: "We believe the combination of SuperGen and Astex accelerates SuperGen's business model and brings together the people, partnerships, clinical assets, discovery platforms, infrastructures and capital resources to generate significant shareholder value in the years ahead.

"The outstanding pipeline and highly regarded drug discovery platform of Astex, coupled with the product candidates, development expertise and capital resources of SuperGen, are expected to give rise to a powerful new entity capable of delivering valuable cancer therapies targeting critical medical needs."

The deal, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, is expected to close in July 2011.

7th April 2011

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