March 8, 2017
Proposed Merger Will Create Clinical-Stage, Biopharmaceutical Company Focused on the Development and Commercialization of Cytisine for Smoking Cessation
Multiple Clinical and Regulatory Milestones Expected in the Next 12-18 Months
BOTHELL, Wash. and VANCOUVER, British Columbia and MILL VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 5, 2017 /CNW/ –OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: OGXI) (“OncoGenex”), a publicly held oncology biopharmaceutical company, and Achieve Life Science, Inc. (“Achieve”), a privately held specialty pharmaceutical company, announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which OncoGenex will acquire Achieve in an all-stock transaction.
Upon completion of the proposed merger, Achieve’s equity holders are expected to own 75% of the combined company’s outstanding shares and current stockholders of OncoGenex are expected to own the remaining 25% of the combined company’s outstanding shares. Following completion of the merger, OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. will be renamed Achieve Life Sciences, Inc.
In addition, prior to the completion of the proposed merger, OncoGenex is expected to distribute to its stockholders contingent value rights (CVRs) for 80% of any net proceeds of certain payments arising from a future sale, transfer, license or similar transaction involving OncoGenex’s apatorsen oncology product candidate.
The combined company’s executive management team will be led by Rick Stewart, Chairman of Achieve; Anthony Clarke, Chief Scientific Officer of Achieve; John Bencich, Chief Financial Officer of OncoGenex; and Cindy Jacobs, Chief Medical Officer of OncoGenex. The combined company plans to utilize select clinical and corporate resources from OncoGenex’s existing operations to accelerate the clinical development program of cytisine for smoking cessation. The board of directors of the combined company is expected to consist of seven members, four of which will be designated by Achieve and three of which will be designated by OncoGenex.
The proposed merger will create a clinical-stage company focused on clinical and commercial development of cytisine, a selective nicotine receptor partial agonist currently in late-stage development for smoking cessation. Two recent Phase 3 trials in over 2,000 patients using cytisine as a smoking cessation aid have been completed, with positive results published in the New England Journal of Medicine. In total, over 10,000 individuals have now participated in clinical trials evaluating cytisine. The product is currently marketed by a third party in Central and Eastern Europe and is believed to have treated in excess of 20 million patients.
In addition to cytisine, the combined company’s pipeline will also include apatorsen (OGX-427), a once-weekly intravenous drug designed to inhibit production of heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) to disable cancer cells’ defenses and overcome treatment resistance. Positive Phase 2 results were recently reported following final analysis of the Borealis-2™ trial of apatorsen in combination with docetaxel treatment that enrolled 200 patients with metastatic bladder cancer whose disease had progressed following first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients who received apatorsen treatment experienced a 20% reduction in risk of death, compared to patients receiving docetaxel alone (HR=.80; 95% CI: 0.65-0.98; p=0.078). Efforts will continue to establish a strategic partnership to further the development of apatorsen.
“After extensive and thorough review of strategic alternatives, we are very pleased to announce this proposed merger with Achieve as it adds both immediate and long-term product opportunities in indications with significant patient need and commercial opportunity,” said Scott Cormack, President and CE