CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & SAN DIEGO, May 03, 2006 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) and Conforma Therapeutics
Corporation, a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on the
design and development of novel drugs for the treatment of cancer,
today announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement
for the acquisition of Conforma by Biogen Idec.
Conforma, founded in 1999, is focused on the discovery and
development of drugs that inhibit heat shock protein 90 (HSP90)
molecules, which are involved in protecting and supporting the growth
of cancer cells across a range of tumor types, and which also play a
role in tumor resistance to a number of leading cancer therapies. The
company has advanced two compounds into Phase I clinical trials:
CNF1010, a proprietary form of the geldanamycin derivative 17-AAG; and
CNF2024, a totally synthetic, orally bioavailable HSP90 inhibitor.
"Global leadership in oncology -- from discovery to development to
commercialization -- is a major strategic objective for Biogen Idec,"
said James C. Mullen, Biogen Idec's President and Chief Executive
Officer. "Conforma's platforms in the promising area of HSP90
antagonists provide significant opportunities to develop drugs for a
range of solid tumors. Through this transaction, Biogen Idec will also
broaden our therapeutic opportunities in the cancer field while adding
Conforma's talented scientific team to our oncology group."
"Biogen Idec is a premier biotechnology organization that has
pioneered important medical advances in areas of high unmet need.
Working together will better enable the development of our innovative
therapeutics and will open opportunities for further application of
our technology platforms," said Lawrence C. Fritz, Ph.D., President
and Chief Executive Officer of Conforma. "Biogen Idec's global
resources and commitment to advancing breakthrough therapies make them
an ideal partner for us and we look forward to joining them."
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of
2006. Upon completion, Biogen Idec will acquire all of the issued and
outstanding shares of the capital stock of Conforma for $150 million,
payable at closing, and up to an additional $100 million upon the
achievement of certain development milestones. The transaction, which
has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, is
subject to approval by the stockholders of Conforma and satisfaction
of other customary closing conditions. Montgomery & Co., LLC was the
exclusive financial advisor to Conforma in connection with this
Following the transaction's close, Conforma's operations and
employees will be integrated into Biogen Idec's San Diego campus, the
company's oncology center of excellence. Conforma's North American and
European rights to Amrubicin, an anthracycline anticancer drug that
Conforma had licensed from Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd., will
be transferred out of Conforma into a new start-up specialty
pharmaceuticals company, Cabrellis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, prior
to the close of this transaction.
Conforma's Technology Platform: Inhibiting HSP90 Chaperones
Cancer occurs when certain signaling proteins, such as kinases and
nuclear receptors, mutate or become over expressed. Recent discoveries
in cell biology have demonstrated that many of these key signaling
proteins require the action of a family of molecular "chaperones"
known as the HSP90 chaperone family in order to be properly folded and
thus maintain activity. Drugs that bind to HSP90 chaperones may induce
these critical signaling proteins to degrade, leading to tumor cell
death. Conforma's drug candidates specifically bind to activated forms
of HSP90 and thus attack tumor cells, sparing normal tissues.
In addition to its lead products, Conforma has developed a diverse
library of compounds that affect the HSP90 family of molecular
chaperones and have the potential to lead to the development of other
About Conforma Therapeutics
Conforma Therapeutics, a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical
company, is focused on the design and development of novel drugs for
the treatment of cancer. Conforma's internal discovery efforts have
been focused on drugs that target the cellular HSP90 family of
molecular "chaperones" that control protein shape or conformation,
including that of key signaling molecules involved in the growth and
survival of tumor cells. Further information regarding Conforma is
available at www.conformacorp.com.
About Biogen Idec
Biogen Idec creates new standards of care in oncology, neurology
and immunology. As a global leader in the development, manufacturing,
and commercialization of novel therapies, Biogen Idec transforms
scientific discoveries into advances in human healthcare. For product
labeling, press releases and additional information about the company,
please visit www.biogenidec.com.
Biogen Idec Safe Harbor
his press release contains forward-looking statements regarding
the acquisition of Conforma and the development of HSP90 antagonists.
These statements are based on the companies' current beliefs and
expectations. Drug development involves a high degree of risk. Factors
which could cause actual results to differ materially from the
companies' current expectations include: the risk that unexpected
concerns may arise from additional data or analysis, that regulatory
authorities may require additional information, further studies, or
may fail to approve the drug, or that the company may encounter other
unexpected hurdles. For more detailed information on the risks and
uncertainties associated with Biogen Idec's drug development and other
activities, see the periodic reports of Biogen Idec Inc. filed with
the Securities and Exchange Commission. Biogen Idec assumes no
obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a
result of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE: Biogen Idec
Biogen Idec Media Contact:
Jose Juves, 617-914-6524
Director, Public Affairs
Biogen Idec Investment Community Contact:
Oscar Velastegui, 617-679-2812
Senior Manager, Investor Relations
Conforma Therapeutics Contact:
Christopher LeMasters, 858-795-0113
Vice President, Corporate Development