Pharma Focus Asia

Collidion Acquires 80% Stake in Plex Pharmaceuticals

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Collidion Inc. and CalAsia Pharmaceuticals, Inc., DBA Plex Pharmaceuticals announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Collidion will acquire an 80% equity stake in Plex in exchange for an undisclosed amount of cash and contributing a novel drug asset under development.  Under the terms of this agreement, Collidion will provide management and operational support as Plex continues its drug discovery programs, which include treatments for Parkinson's disease, glioblastoma, and cataracts.  Plex's drug discovery programs have received funding through several grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF).

"This acquisition provides Plex with a strong financial footing and enables further development of our proprietary pipeline of therapeutic candidates," said G. Sridhar Prasad, PhD, Plex's President and Chief Scientific Officer.  "Plex's drug portfolio is led by a combination treatment approach for glioblastoma, as well as development candidates for Parkinson's disease and cataracts.  This transaction further validates and represents a tremendous opportunity for us to advance our programs into pre-clinical and clinical development, as well as invest in further development of our drug candidates for additional indications."

Plex's drug discovery programs include:

Glioblastoma (GBM) – Glioblastoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, that often results in a combination of aggressive treatments to target the tumor site.  The market for GBM drugs is expected to grow in response to the increasing number of new cases diagnosed each year. Therefore, there is a high demand for targeted drugs and therapies that can improve both the quality of life and overall survival rates for patients.  According to a report published by GlobalData in January 2016, the GBM treatment market is expected to reach $3.3 billion by 2024.

Plex has developed a novel co-drug molecule, in which two drug molecules are delivered in the form of a single conjugate and later released as two single-agents, each targeting the tumor site(s).  The first drug molecule used in Plex's formulation has been approved by the FDA while the second component is currently undergoing clinical investigation for treatment of multiple systemic cancers.  Plex's pre-clinical data demonstrates a greater level of efficacy when the combined drug molecules target the same GBM tumor models over the separate use of each drug molecule.  Management believes that the combined molecule has the potential to be reviewed and ultimately receive an orphan drug status by the FDA for treatment of GBM.

Parkinson's disease (PD) - PD is a neurodegenerative disease that typically affects people over the age of 60.  General symptoms of PD involve tremors, trembling in limbs and facial areas, as well as stiffness of both limbs and body trunk, slowness in movement and impaired balance.  PD progression causes patients to experience difficulty in walking, speaking, or completing simple daily tasks.  The rate of disease progression varies among patients. Plex's PD program is promising and management is committed to accelerate in vivo proof of concept.  According to a report published by GBI Research in February 2016, the global PD market is estimated to reach $3.2 billion in 2021.

Cataracts - Cataracts are a progressive medical condition that clouds the lens of an eye, thus impairing vision.  Plex's cataracts program is focused on developing a novel topical drug candidate to treat and/or delay the progression of cataracts.  The drug, if approved, may disrupt the global cataracts surgical market, which was estimated by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., in a report published in January 2015, to reach $4.7 billion by 2020.  Plex's cataracts program is currently being supported through NIH grant funding.

"Plex is a scientifically-driven company with a vision to improve the lives of patients with complex diseases and conditions.  Collidion's acquisition of Plex reinforces our commitment to innovation and cross-collaboration," said Hoji Alimi, Collidion's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.  "The acquisition of Plex provides our team with a unique opportunity to work beside a world class scientific and research team which has been committed to improving the lives of millions of patients around the world.  We are simply humbled and proud to be a part of their mission.  Collidion is committed to support Plex's programs and ultimately plans to transform Plex through additional licensing opportunities and the acquisition and development of other drug candidates.  We are very excited about the potential for this transaction to benefit patients as well as our shareholders, employees and other stakeholders."

Dr. Prasad will remain Director and Chief Scientific Officer of Plex, overseeing the efforts of his scientific team on the research and development of Plex's development programs.  Hoji Alimi, Collidion's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will be appointed as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Plex; William H. Watson, III, Collidion's Vice President of Global Sales and Business Development, as Vice President of Business Development of Plex; and Sameer Harish, Collidion's Director of Finance, as Director of Finance of Plex.

The Board of Directors of Plex will be Hoji Alimi, Dr. Prasad, and William Watson, III.  The Board will be interviewing candidates for the two remaining seats over the next several months.  Plex will also be adding additional members to its Scientific Advisory Board, led by Dr. Allan Rubenstein as Chairman.

"The Plex acquisition is a major milestone for Collidion," said William Watson.  "By adding Plex's robust pipeline of novel drug leads to our three anti-infective platforms, we are setting the stage towards becoming a significant player in the global market.

"Plex has played a key role in developing several of our anti-infective platforms.  Their work has led to the development of a robust anti-infective technology, with results confirming an 8-log spore reduction in 30-minutes in presence of serum.  Our vision is to commercialize this platform for rapid and safe sterilization and disinfection of medical devices including, but not limited to heart lung bypass machine, kidney dialysis machine, and many others.  We intend for this antimicrobial platform to become the leading disinfection solution for combating infectious disease even in presence of serum that are generally found on reusable medical devices.

"Collidion was established with a goal to acquire, license and develop novel and innovative health care assets and technologies and create an environment that will allow our partners scientific freedom to pursue drug and medical device assets that would otherwise remain undervalued.  We are excited to announce our first acquisition and begin work on accelerating Plex's fundraising and research and development activities," said Watson.

FitzGerald Yap Kreditor LLP served as legal advisor to Collidion and Pokala Law served as legal advisor to Plex in the acquisition.

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