Vital Therapies (NSDQ:VTL) said today that it inked a deal to swap shares with Germany-based Immunic, transitioning its efforts to focus on Immunic’s pipeline of drugs for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Once the deal is closed, Vital Therapies plans to operate under the name Immunic and trade on the Nasdaq market.
A group of investors, including Life Sciences Partners, Omega Funds and Bayern Kapital, plan to invest €26 million ($29.8 million) when the deal closes. Following the closing of the agreement, the total cash balance of the company is slated to be roughly $35-40 million – sufficient to fund development into Q3 of 2020, according to the companies.
In October, Vital Therapies announced that it began to explore “strategic opportunities” for the company, including a possible sale or merger. The move came just one month after its ELAD cell-based liver failure treatment failed in a pivotal clinical trial.
“Following an extensive and thorough review of strategic alternatives, we believe that this transaction with Immunic is the best path forward and has the potential to deliver significant and near-term value to Vital Therapies stockholders,” Vital Therapies CEO Russell Cox said in prepared remarks
The newly-formed company will be led by Immunic CEO Daniel Vitt and headquartered in Boston, Mass. Cox plans to leave “in the near term,” the companies wrote.
“We are truly excited about the opportunity created by this transaction to further advance our three next-generation programs in chronic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Our objective has always been to develop new and better options for patients with debilitating diseases, and with this transaction and the compelling data from our programs, we believe that we are well positioned to deliver on this vision,” Vitt said.
“We believe that the proposed transaction will be transformative for Immunic stockholders and create a company with the potential to generate substantial stockholder value. We expect that the company will have the financial resources and experienced leadership to accomplish our multiple value inflection points and key near-term objectives: first, to deliver phase 2 read-outs for our lead program IMU-838 in multiple indications; and second, to further advance our preclinical programs, IMU-935 and IMU-856, towards clinical proof-of-concept,” he added.