Antisoma Plc acquires Xanthus Pharmaceuticals




Episode Loading...




PharmaTelevision requires Javascript enabled and Adobe Flash Player to watch our programmes. If you do not have Flash installed, you can download it for free from the Adobe Flash homepage.

Improve your Internet experience and start watching exciting new video content.

Video title: Antisoma Plc acquires Xanthus Pharmaceuticals
Released on: September 30, 2008. © PharmaVentures Ltd
Share/save this page:
Email
Bookmark
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Follow us:
RSS
Twitter
  • Summary
  • Transcript
  • Participants
  • Company
On 11th June 2008, Antisoma Plc finalized their acquisition of Xanthus Pharmaceuticals. In this interview, Fintan Walton talks to Nicholas Adams, Director of Business Development at Antisoma, and Dr Michael Boss, formally of Xanthus and now General Manager (Autoimmune) at Antisoma.

Nicholas Adams and Michael Boss outline the benefits of the acquisition agreement from the perspective of both companies. They also discuss the products involved and how funding was focused to ensure the future success of Antisoma.
Origins of Antisoma and its products.
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaVentures Business Review here live at San Diego in California. On this show I have Nick Adams, who is Business Development Director at Antisoma and Mike Boss, who is Chief Business Officer at Antisoma. And both of you gentlemen are here as members of Antisoma, but a few about a month ago you weren't together as in one company Nick you were obviously with Antisoma, well Mike you were with Xanthus. And we are here to discuss the recent acquisition by Antisoma of Xanthus [PharmaDeals ID = 30317]. So first of all like to ask you Nick the question around the actual origins of Antisoma itself and the type of company it is and the products that it produces currently?
Nicholas Adams:
Okay. Antisoma started as an antibody base company, but really changed in back in 1999 when it decided actually we were gonna be an anti-cancer company so we look at not only the large molecules but also look the small molecule programs as well, so since then we've in licensed what is now ASA404 back in 2001 as well as other small molecule an Aptamer programs, Aptamer program came with the acquisition of Aptamera [PharmaDeals ID = 18915] back in 2005. So we had changed to a as we are an anti-cancer company looking to diversify the portfolio to spread the risk across different products at different stages in development.
Xanthus Pharmaceuticals: Products and programs.
Fintan Walton:
Right. Mike,as when you were at Xanthus up to recently you are also interviewed on our program about a year ago. Tell us a little remind us a little bit about Xanthus and the types of products it's been developing?
Michael Boss:
So Xanthus is also in fact an oncology drug development company, we have no discovery, we've focused on in licensing. We have some fairly late stage compounds, we acquired the US rights to oral fludarabine which is approved outside of the United States. And we, since we last spoke we've started our Phase III trial with Xanafide in a Secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia. We also have very exciting early stage autoimmune disease program.
Why did Antisoma buy Xanthus Pharmaceuticals?
Fintan Walton:
Clearly then between the two companies two different pipelines, Nick why did you acquire Xanthus or why did Antisoma buy Xanthus?
Nicholas Adams:
Okay, probably past year what we've been looking for is a means to bring in other clinical assets into the company and what we were looking for is later stage assets. One of the key strategies of the company is to get in the commercialization space and to do that in the US and so a key part of that jig saw was the co-commercialization option we have with Novartis [PharmaDeals ID = 27035] over our lead product ASA404. And what we wanted to do is to have other products coming in behind that which we could feed into the sales force that we will have for that product, so
Fintan Walton:
That's really making sure you get back into the co-promotion rights that you have got with the Novartis?
Nicholas Adams:
Yeah one product is not enough you got to have other things coming in behind it.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, exactly. Okay.
Nicholas Adams:
And so we were looking for companies with late stage assets, but of course the other side of the equation is looking and finding a company which is also interested in doing a transaction.
Fintan Walton:
Sure.
Nicholas Adams:
And this is where Xanthus you know hit both of those parts of the equation and so hence the transaction.
Xanthus Pharmaceuticals's perspective:Benefits of being acquired by Antisoma.
Fintan Walton:
> Okay. So Mike from your perspective and the Xanthus perspective what was the benefit of being acquired by Antisoma?
Michael Boss:
The combination provides a very strong pipeline, I think you could say there are very few companies of this size with six clinical assets one in registration, two in Phase III with the combination of the US and the UK basis the idea to move forward with retaining commercial rights in the US and we will be looking to partner outside of the US. So there is a lot of congruency not only in the philosophy in that we are both in-licensing companies, but where we want to go. And in terms of the future in fact our venture capitalists say investors actually contributed to a fund raising because one of the very important things that Antisoma stressed was the maintenance of a very strong balance sheet in these very difficult times.
Fintan Walton:
Okay.
Michael Boss:
And so that's a very positive point and the point is that we were gonna grow together and move towards commercialization and build a really foremost oncology company.
Fintan Walton:
Sure. So the money that's gonna be raised or is it in the process of being raised is that correct?
Michael Boss:
It's actually been raised.
Fintan Walton:
It's been raised in the process of raising this over 20 million pounds, so clearly that will contribute the balance sheets and how are you going to use that money Nick?
Nicholas Adams:
Okay, well as Mike mentioned we now have six products in the clinic and obviously this can be a drive to take those through clinical development, so that's where the majority of the money is going to go. We do have other things in the preclinical pipeline within Antisoma, we have programs which were in development and obviously there is a Flt3autoimmune program that comes from Xanthus which we are very keen to take forward. And so that's where the money is going to go.
Fintan Walton:
Sure.
Nicholas Adams:
But one of the very nice things of the acquisition is that we now have assets for partnering outside of the US as well as the oral fludarabine within the US. So as where as a supplement on top of the cash position which we already got we will be looking to find partners for oral fludarabine in the US and for Xanafide X US as well as, as for Antisoma has (indiscernable) for the Japanese and the European market.
Fintan Walton:
So in a sense Mike this is giving you both companies an opportunity to position itself and that of from a strategic point of view, this is a true strategic acquisition?
Michael Boss:
Exactly right and also the with the goal of Antisoma being congruent with our view of how you actually build the significant company which is you've got to get towards commercialization and the time frames of the two original companies lead compounds are very similar and so that works beautifully.
Fintan Walton:
And is there room to rationalize some of the pipeline itself, does it mean that's some products will have more,with more of choice now lets put it that way?
Michael Boss:
It's a very lucky position to be in, there is actually an early stage Phase I compound from the Xanthus pipeline called Clomet that will be looking to diverse that's been in Phase I, is quite a nice compound, but with these other later stage assets it makes sense to focus the funding on those as well as in fact as Nick mentioned the early stage a very exciting autoimmune program where we've got targeted highly specific targeted agents to Flt3.
US operations, Acquisitions and Deal aspects.
Fintan Walton:
So Nick, a question for you is if Xanthus was based in the UK or in Europe would it been as attractive or is it because it was based in the US added attraction to the acquisition?
Nicholas Adams:
At the end of day it is the product, so the products are going to be the most important, they have to be because that defines the value, but yes it was a key element of a deal because obviously fits in with our approach of building up our US operations.
Fintan Walton:
As you see it from your perspective, now in that respect having done the deal and closed it off was it an advantage to on the other side to have a European based company or a UK based company acquire you?
Nicholas Adams:
So we were looking Fintan for a variety of ways of how we gonna move forward and raise funding, we looked for example at one opportunity which would have been to actually completely diverse the oral fludarabine asset. And then Antisoma came along and really as Nick we've been talking about the mutual goals where so congruent, the pipelines and I think having the headquarters in the UK wanting a US operation everything really just slotted in place very nicely.
Fintan Walton:
But it does, because your own experience of acquiring a US company in the past Nick, obviously that's helped from a cultural point of view of working with an organization in the US dealing with those issues that naturally occur with dealing with transplanting issues. Do you see this particular acquisition as simpler than the one you had did before?
Nicholas Adams:
Obviously saying in some respects yes in some respects no, I mean Aptamera was a lot smaller and it was made essentially made up of one clinical product and so it was its lot easier in terms of from a integration perspective, obviously Xanthus is a lot more sizeable operation and there are lot more things to think about in terms of what is in the pipeline there and you know how to integrate the two companies so it's more complex in that respect.
Fintan Walton:
So Mike, do you think the fact that you've worked with Glyn Edwards in the past the CEO of Antisoma does it that culturally helped in making sure of this deal came through, is it important because often you know when people look at acquisitions and so forth often it's the people you know are important was that an important aspect?
Michael Boss:
I think it can't be denied that knowing individuals helped and talking over a period of time to get to know each other, one other point that I think is significant and may not have been raised which is that Antisoma actually have been in the process of setting up a US office. And so that process is already ongoing and now that it can all be consolidated into the Cambridge facility.
Fintan Walton:
Right. So now that Antisoma has got you know reasonable positions both in Europe and the USA, Nick does that now put you in a better position to do further acquisitions?
Nicholas Adams:
Yeah it's obviously.
Fintan Walton:
Is that the intention?
Nicholas Adams:
No it don't we have a stop there, of course we look at ways if augmenting the pipeline that we have and no I mean what it does, what it gives us is I mean is people with more way of a presence in the US(indiscernable) to us we've builded up organically, have a very good group here in the clinical regulatory group which we can now you know build on. I mean beforehand we already doing a lot of our own clinical studies here in the US. And so you know we've got that more of a substantial group to drive that forward now.
Future plans of Antisoma.
Fintan Walton:
And from your perspective Mike, going forward into the future, what do you see this new Antisoma with the Xanthus assets as part of it and Antisoma raising to 20 million, what does that mean now for Antisoma going forward?
Michael Boss:
It makes it a strong it's a very especially in the current environment a very strong company and it really makes a legitimate aspiration to create a commercial operation in the United States.
Fintan Walton:
It's raises a question about you know you've described that both companies had a history of in licensing product, Is in licensing products the right strategy to go forward or do you should you really go forward, Michael if you can answer this question by doing acquisitions really? Is acquisitions by biotech companies or emerging pharmaceutical companies a better way of doing deals rather than trying to do licensing type deals?
Michael Boss:
You got to look at the opportunity as it arises.
Fintan Walton:
So you don't drive it on the basis whether it should be an acquisition or not?
Michael Boss:
I think then you get yourselves you could end up in a corner and boxing yourself in rather than looking out at the end of the day what you really want to look at is the product opportunity and you also want to make build an organization that is rational and that, doing acquisitions can actually bring complexities that you would ideally not like.
Fintan Walton:
Sure. Okay and clearly I know from both of your companies, previous companies, separate companies now that you are both merged that shouldn't be a problem, should it?
Michael Boss:
Obviously we were gonna work very hard to ensure that this is a very positive interaction and we've got like mutual culture in order to ensure that and we are already working hard at the integration to make it very, very positive.
Fintan Walton:
Okay. Well thank you Nick and Mike for coming along on to the show and telling us all about the recent acquisition of Antisoma of Xanthus. Thank you very much indeed both of you.
Michael Boss:
Thanks Fintan.
Nicholas Adams:
Thanks Fintan.
Michael Boss
General Manager (Autoimmune)
Nicholas Adams was appointed Director of Business Development at Antisoma in November 2003, having acted as a Business Development Manager for four years previously. Before joining Antisoma, he held R&D positions at Ciba-Geigy, Eisai Ltd and Cephalon Inc. Nicholas Adams has a BSc in Biology and studied at the College of Law, London. He is a member of the UK Trade Investments Biotech and Pharma Sector's Advisory Group, the Biotechnology Industry Association's Business Development Working Group and is on the organizing committee of the Pharma Licensing Group UK. Michael Boss, Chief Business Officer and Chief Operating Officer at Xanthus Pharmaceuticals since 2002, was appointed General Manager (Autoimmune) at Antisoma in June 2008 following the acquisition of Xanthus by Antisoma. Prior to joining Xanthus, Michael Boss held the positions of Vice President at Elan Pharmaceuticals (2001-2002), Vice President (Operations) at Athena Diagnostic (1991-2001) and Senior Scientist at Celltech Ltd (1982 - 1987). Michael Boss gained his PhD from the University of London in 1979 and his MBA from the London Business School in 1987.
Antisoma
Antisoma is a publicly quoted biotech company specializing in the development of novel drugs for the treatment of cancer. Founded in 1988, its shares are traded on the LSE and it has offices in London and Boston, Massachusetts. Antisoma's business strategy is to acquire promising early-stage drug candidates from academic and commercial institutions around the world and to manage the development of these drugs through preclinical testing and clinical trials. Antisoma have formed several successful partnerships with large companies such as Novartis, Merck Serono and Cancer Research TechnologyUK as a means of taking developed drugs to market. Antisoma recently acquired US-based private oncology company Xanthus Pharmaceuticals, Inc in an all-share deal valued at GBP 26.8 million (USD 52.2 million). Xanthus Pharmaceuticals have developed a portfolio of novel clinical-stage, small-molecule therapeutics candidates for use in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Xanthus was based in Cambridge, Massachusetts with an additional facility in Montreal, Quebec. The company was acquired by Antisoma in June 2008.