Silence stock jumps on Mallinckrodt deal – UK biotech Silence Therapeutics saw its stock jump by 60% this morning on the back of a licensing deal, R&D collaboration and equity investment from the Irish-domiciled, US-based speciality pharmaceutical group Mallinckrodt. The overall deal has a “biodollar” or headline value exceeding $2.1bn, although initially it provides an upfront payment of $20m and $5m in equity, for a 6.5% stake. Silence’s stock nevertheless rose by 61%, giving it a market cap of £98m, up by £37m on yesterday’s close.
The collaboration will focus on the development of RNA interference (or RNAi) drugs designed to inhibit elemnets on the complement cascade, a group of proteins that are involved in the immune system that also play a role in the development of inflammation. Under the terms, Silence will grant Mallinckrodt an exclusive worldwide license to its preclinical C3 inhibitor, SLN500, and the option to license up to two additional complement-targeted assets. Silence will be responsible for preclinical and early clinical development until the end of Phase I, after which Mallinckrodt will assume clinical development and responsibility for global commercialisation.
In addition to the $20m upfront, Silence will be eligible for up to $10m in research milestones for SLN500 and for each optioned asset, in addition to funding for Phase I trials, including GMP manufacturing. There are additional clinical and regulatory milestone payments of up to $100m for SLN500, as well as commercial milestone payments of up to $563m, as well as royalties on sales. If Mallinckrodt opts to license one or both additional assets, Silence could receive up to $703 million in similar clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments per asset. Silence would also receive tiered, low double-digit to high-teen royalties on net sales for SLN500 and on each optioned asset.
Complement C3 is a target of two drug other development programmeas: Apellis Pharmaceuticals’ APL-2 (pegcetacoplan, Phase III) and Amyndas Pharmaceuticals’ AMY-101 (entering Phase II). Apellis has just completed enrollment of its PEGASUS Phase III trial in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), with top-line data due in December; it is also evaluating APL-2 in geographic atrophy, a trype of age-related macular degeneration, warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia (wAIHA) or cold agglutinin disease (CAD) and C3G and other glomerular diseases. Amyndas’ AMY-101 has just completed Phase I and is entering Phase II studies for PNH and C3G, ABO-incompatible kidney transplantation and periodontal disease.