French pharmaceutical company BioAlliance Pharma has agreed to acquire the Scandinavian biopharmaceutical firm Topotarget. Topotarget is currently developing a host of rare cancer drugs that will be particularly attractive to BioAlliance as it aims to improve its own oncology drug offerings.
The most notable Topotarget drug is called belinostat, a novel pan-HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitor. It is expected to be approved in the U.S. later this year. The drug treats patients with peripheral T-cell lymphoma, and could be used in the study of other rare cancers within hematology and solid tumors. Belinostat approval will trigger a $25 million payout from Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, along with royalties on future sales of the drug that are reported to be in the double digits.
This merger comes as the market for orphan oncology drugs hit $45 billion in 2013 and is expected to continue increasing as new orphan diseases continue to be discovered and medical needs continue to grow. The total market for orphan oncology drugs is expected reach $80 billion in 2018.
Judith Greciet, the CEO of BioAlliance Pharma, released a statement: “The merger with Topotarget will strengthen and diversify our position in rare oncology diseases. Topotarget is managed by a highly-experienced team of executives, and the merger will enable both teams to combine their respective expertise to create a new company with a robust and innovative pipeline that is primed for success. It is a unique and timely opportunity to develop an orphan oncology portfolio, which addresses a wider range of life-threatening medical conditions, while creating value for our shareholders.”
Anders Vadsholt, Topotarget’s CEO, also released a statement: “The positioning of BioAlliance Pharma, their late stage assets and expertise makes BioAlliance Pharma a perfect fit as a company to merge with, allowing the acceleration of belinostat development in several new orphan oncology indications by leveraging on both team’s synergistic expertise. We are confident that this merger will deliver to our shareholders the best possible value and the opportunity to jointly shape a dynamic new player in the orphan oncology market.”