Auven exits cancer drug developer Spirogen to AstraZeneca arm MedImmune


news_spirogen_molecule_lrgDrug-focused private equity investor Auven Therapeutics has sold cancer-targeting pharmaceutical developer Spirogen to MedImmune in a deal worth up to $240m.

MedImmune has agreed to pay $200m up front for the London-headquartered business, which could rise by another $40m if predetermined development milestones are met.

Auven has also agreed to make an equity investment in ADC Therapeutics alongside MedImmune, the global biologics R&D division of AstraZeneca.

ADC also targets cancer cells by attaching special antibodies to highly-potent agents, a system which helps optimise delivery of cancer drugs to tumours while minimising toxicity for patients.

Auven co-founder and managing partner Peter Corr, who is also chairman of ADC Therapeutics, said “We anticipate that our work in the ADC field will be a major driver of value in our fund.

“We believe that ADCs are one of the most interesting and important areas we have worked on in our careers.

“The combination of tumour-specific antibodies with highly potent cytotoxic warheads will be game changing in the oncology field.”

Fellow Auven co-founder Stephen Evans-Freke said, “While our business strategy for Spirogen had been to license its ADC warhead technology to multiple industry partners, an unsolicited approach by an unrelated party to this deal to acquire the company caused us to explore with Lazard the potential for enhanced value realization through an outright sale.

“While we had interest from various parties, MedImmune stood out as an ideal partner. We were very pleased with the outcome.”

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