OvaScience and Millendo Therapeutics Announce Merger to Create Leading Rare Endocrine Disease Company
OvaScienceSM and privately-held Millendo Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel treatments for orphan endocrine diseases, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which OvaScience will merge with Millendo in an all-stock transaction. The merged company will focus on advancing Millendo’s pipeline of distinct and transformative treatments for orphan endocrine diseases. Upon shareholder approval, the combined company is expected to operate under the name Millendo Therapeutics and trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the ticker symbol MLND.
An investor syndicate that includes New Enterprise Associates, Frazier Healthcare Partners, Roche Venture Fund, Innobio managed by Bpifrance, Osage University Partners, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Adams Street Partners, and Longwood Fund has committed to invest $30 million in the combined company. This financing will help fund the further development of Millendo’s lead assets, livoletide (AZP-531) and nevanimibe (ATR-101), and is expected to close before or concurrently with the completion of the merger. The total cash balance of the combined company following the closing of the merger and the financing is expected to be at least $70 million.
Millendo is leveraging its deep understanding of recent biological discoveries in endocrinology to build a strong pipeline based on its clinically-validated molecules with differentiated mechanisms. Millendo’s lead asset, livoletide, is an unacylated ghrelin analogue being developed for the treatment of Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disease characterized by hyperphagia, a chronic unrelenting hunger, that leads to obesity, metabolic dysfunction, reduced quality of life and early mortality. Livoletide demonstrated positive effects in improving hyperphagia and food-seeking behaviors in a Phase 2 study in Prader-Willi syndrome and is expected to advance into a pivotal Phase 2b/3 study in the first quarter of 2019. Millendo is also developing nevanimibe, an ACAT1 inhibitor for the treatment of two orphan adrenal diseases: classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and endogenous Cushing’s Syndrome. Nevanimibe demonstrated positive proof-of-concept and a favorable safety profile in an open-label Phase 2 trial in CAH and is expected to advance into a Phase 2b study in the third quarter of 2018.
“We are excited about the opportunities created by this merger, as it positions us to become a leader in rare endocrine diseases with the funding needed to pursue the potential approval and commercialization of our first-in-class programs,” said Julia Owens, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Millendo. “Our objective has always been to deliver meaningful therapies to patients who do not have sufficient treatment options, and with this merger, the compelling clinical data for our programs, and the initiations of late-stage trials for both livoletide and nevanimibe expected in the months ahead, we are optimistic that we can deliver on this vision.”
“Following an extensive and thorough review of strategic alternatives, we believe that this merger with Millendo is the best path forward and has the potential to deliver significant and immediate value to OvaScience shareholders,” said Christopher Kroeger, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of OvaScience. “We are certain that the strength and dedication of the Millendo leadership team provides our combined company with the capabilities to develop new and much-needed therapies for patients with orphan endocrine diseases.”