Immune Pharmaceuticals and EpiCept Corp. have entered into a merger agreement. The transaction is expected to close 1Q13, subject to customary closing conditions. The combined company will be called Immune Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and will be focused on developing antibody therapeutics and other targeted drugs for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer. Immune’s lead product candidate, bertilimumab, is a fully human MAb currently in Phase II development for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.
The companies’ combined oncology portfolios include Immune’s NanomAbs, a new generation of antibody drug conjugates, and EpiCept’s vascular disruptive agents. Immune Pharmaceuticals will continue to seek a partner for EpiCept’s Phase III development of AmiKet for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain and post-herpetic neuralgia.
The Immune Pharmaceuticals management team will include Robert Cook, who will serve as chief financial officer, and Stephane Allard, M.D., EpiCept’s chief medical officer, who will serve as chief medical officer. Serge Goldner, chief financial officer of Immune will take the new role of executive vice president and chief operating officer.
In a joint statement, Daniel Teper, PharmD, chief executive officer of Immune, and Mr. Cook, interim president and chief executive officer of EpiCept, commented, “This transaction will create a publicly traded specialty biopharmaceutical company with a portfolio of four clinical-stage drug candidates for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer. Immune’s bertilimumab is being evaluated clinically to address unmet medical needs in multiple severe disease indications. EpiCept’s Amiket has clinical data in over 1600 patients in various neuropathies, Fast Track designation and Phase III Special Protocol Assistance from the FDA as well as a defined clinical path through the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of chemotherapy induced neuropathic pain.”