Three assets to help Mereo on its way
29.07.2015 - Newly founded Mereo BioPharma has acquired three mid-stage clinical assets from Novartis. In turn, the Swiss pharma concern will hold a stake in the UK company. Other investors are also on board.
London-based Mereo BioPharma Group Ltd was founded in March of this year with the mission to acquire innovative treatments and rapidly develop them and bring them to market. Now, Mereo has acquired a portfolio of three development programmes from Swiss Novartis. In return, Novartis will hold an equity stake in Mereo and will also share in the success of the development of the products through milestone payments and royalties on sales.
The deal involves compounds in areas of unmet medical need including BPS-804, a fully human monoclonal antibody, which is being developed to improve bone density as well as the small molecules BCT-197 for acute exacerbations in COPD and BGS-649 for obese men with hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism to normalise testosterone levels. Each programme has shown promise in proof of concept clinical studies.
At the same time, Mereo has secured US$119m (€107.6m) from UK institutional investors Woodford Investment Management and Invesco Perpetual. Novartis also intends to make a cash investment in Mereo in future financings, the company led by CEO Denise Scots-Knight announced.
Commenting on today’s announcements, Scots-Knight said: “We believe that by acquiring quality assets from Novartis and securing substantial financing we have put in place the building blocks to create a successful specialty biopharmaceutical company. Through the experience and connections of the team and Board we are delighted to have been able to work with a visionary global leader in Novartis Pharmaceuticals in building a new model to help optimisethe development of pharmaceutical pipelines. We believe the exceptional experience and track record of the Mereo team and Board will enable us to rapidly build a globally competitive business.”