Targacept to Merge with Catalyst Biosciences

Winston-Salem-based Targacept, Inc. has agreed to merge with California-based Catalyst Biosciences Inc., creating a protease-based hemostasis and anti-complement company.

The companies said that they entered into a definitive agreement to merge the two companies, which will be named Catalyst Biosciences, Inc. The combined entity is expected to create a financially strong company to harness the catalytic power of engineered human proteases to develop next-generation biopharmaceuticals with improved efficacy and therapeutic index to treat major diseases.

Targacept emerged fifteen years ago, with a goal of treating disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The company’s series of drug candidates for neurological disorders failed in clinical trials. Now the company said that it has agreed to be bought by Catalyst Biosciences in a reverse merger, to which Targacept has committed its remaining $92 million in cash.

A part of the proposed transaction, Catalyst stockholders will initially own 65 percent of the combined company. Targacept cash remaining in the combined company will be $35 million, along with an anticipated $5 million of cash from Catalyst. Additionally, current Targacept shareholders will receive a dividend of an aggregate of $37 million in non-interest bearing redeemable convertible notes and approximately $20 million in cash.

The combined company will have a pipeline of protease therapeutics, including PF-05280602, an engineered Factor VIIa (FVIIa) drug candidate that successfully completed a Phase I clinical trial, and is being developed by Pfizer Inc. under license from Catalyst. The drug candidate is designed to potentially enable lower and fewer doses of engineered Factor VIIa to control bleeding episodes and to potentially achieve effective prophylaxis in hemophilia inhibitor patients. Additionally, the combined company will have four additional promising drug candidates including an improved Factor IX for hemophilia B, an engineered Factor Xa that can potentially be used for both hemophilia and the control of bleeding in non-hemophilia patients, and two novel proteases for the treatment of complement-mediated disorders.

“This merger establishes a well-capitalized public company with resources to advance our unique protease-based product candidates through multiple future value inflection points,” said Nassim Usman, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst. “In addition to our Factor VIIa program we will also have sufficient resources to initiate and complete a planned proof-of-concept study of CB 2679d, a next generation Factor IX for hemophilia B patients, as well as further develop of our novel Factor Xa variant and our anti-complement programs.”

The deal has been approved by both companies’ Boards of Directors.

Source: Targacept, Inc.

Last Updated: 3/9/15; 12:05pm EST

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