Immunicum has entered into an agreement with Van Herk Investments B.V. to acquire all of the shares in DCprime B.V., a Dutch clinical stage company developing cancer relapse vaccines aimed to reduce tumor recurrence.
Merging the complementary allogeneic dendritic cell biology approaches of both companies will enable Immunicum to further build and strengthen its position as a leader in cell-based cancer immunotherapies, it states.
Payment in the transaction is effectuated through an issue in kind of 73,909,635 new shares in Immunicum representing 44 percent of the shares in Immunicum on a fully diluted basis. DCprime’s current majority shareholder, Van Herk Investments B.V., a European life science investor, will thereby become a significant shareholder of the combined entity. The issuance of the shares is subject to approval by an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to be held on December 18th, 2020.
“One of Immunicum’s main goals is to expand the company’s pipeline with the vision of becoming a leading cell therapy company. As such, joining forces with DCprime, an innovative company with extensive expertise in allogeneic dendritic cell biology, stands as an exciting opportunity with great potential for Immunicum that will build additional value for the company, our shareholders and future patients,” states Sven Rohmann, Chief Executive Officer of Immunicum. “Together, we can pursue the treatment of both solid tumor and blood-borne tumors by intratumoral priming as well as systemic boosting using the next-generation of allogeneic, off-the-shelf cell-based therapies. Our teams and our technologies are complementary and would significantly increase the potential of our pipeline and deliver more value-inflection points and potential partnering opportunities.”
A synergistic pipeline
The main objective of the combination is to establish a unified company built on decades of combined immuno-oncology and cell therapy expertise in the field of allogeneic dendritic cell biology, states Immunicum.
Moving forward, Immunicum’s scientific focus will continue to be on triggering immune responses against established tumors via intratumoral immune priming and expanded to include the reduction of tumor recurrence via relapse vaccination. To date Immunicum has established clinical proof of concept for its lead program, ilixadencel, which has been tested in a range of solid tumors. DCprime has produced equally encouraging clinical results for blood-borne tumors including interim data from its ongoing Phase II study in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
Together, the companies will advance a synergistic pipeline spanning both large and orphan indications in solid as well as blood-borne tumors, with two programs in Phase II clinical development and multiple near-term value inflection points as well as a portfolio of preclinical programs and research capabilities to fuel future pipeline expansion.
Maintain headquarters in Stockholm
The newly combined company will maintain its corporate headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden and consolidate research, process development and future manufacturing efforts at the location in Leiden, the Netherlands. Immunicum’s shares will continue to trade on the Nasdaq Stockholm.
Following the closing of the transaction, Erik Manting, currently CEO of DCprime, will join Immunicum’s leadership team as Chief Business Officer and deputy CEO. Jeroen Rovers, currently Chief Medical Officer at DCprime, will have the role of the Managing Director of DCprime in the combination. In addition, Immunicum will call for an EGM in order for the shareholders to resolve upon the proposed elections of Andrea van Elsas, and Dharminder Chahal to the Board of Directors of Immunicum.
Intends to invest up to SEK 82.5 million in the company
Van Herk Investments, together with Immunicum’s largest shareholder, Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund (AP4), have expressed their support to the new, combined entity. In addition, Van Herk Investments, Immunicum’s largest shareholder following the transaction, intends to invest up to SEK 82.5 million in the company. The closing of the Transaction is expected to take place at the end of December 2020.
“This transaction is a transformative milestone for Immunicum as it will bring additional value to the company and enable it to further establish itself as a leader in the development of cell-based immuno-oncology treatments,” says Michael Oredsson, Chairman of the Board at Immunicum. “Together, we will have world class competence with in-house process development and manufacturing expertise and specialized research and development facilities as well as strengthened ownership by the addition of Van Herk, a renowned and committed life science investor known for their success stories in Galapagos and Zealand Pharma, BioInvent, Galapagos and successful trade sale exits in Ablynx (Sanofi), Crucell (J&J), among others.”
Photo of Sven Rohmann, CEO, Immunicum (right)