Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on proprietary technology to harness the power of the immune system to combat cancer, today announced a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Checkmate by Regeneron at an all-cash price of $10.50 per share of Checkmate common stock. The proposed acquisition values Checkmate at a total equity value of approximately $250 million.
Checkmate's lead investigational candidate is vidutolimod, an advanced generation CpG-A oligodeoxynucleotide Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist delivered in a virus-like particle.
"As we continue to advance and expand our research efforts in immuno-oncology, the acquisition of Checkmate will add a promising new modality to Regeneron's toolkit of potential approaches for difficult-to-treat cancers," said Leonard S. Schleifer, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Regeneron. "The unique combination of a differentiated Toll-like receptor 9 with other antibody-based oncology agents may result in increased clinical benefit and provide new treatment options for patients in need. We look forward to welcoming the Checkmate team and their complementary scientific acumen to the Regeneron family."
"We are thrilled that Checkmate will become part of Regeneron, a biotechnology leader that shares our deep appreciation for science, hunger for ground-breaking discoveries and commitment to helping patients defeat cancer," said Alan Bash, President and Chief Executive Officer of Checkmate.
"We believe that the data we have generated with vidutolimod positions Checkmate at the forefront of the innate immune activator field. It is our hope that Regeneron's resources and expertise will help accelerate the development of vidutolimod and realization of the full potential of our virus-like particle (VLP) platform for immunotherapy," said Art Krieg, M.D., Checkmate's Founder and Chief Scientific Officer.
Vidutolimod is administered into the tumor and is believed to induce and expand anti-tumor T cells and induce tumor regression as a monotherapy in patients whose tumors previously progressed on PD-1 checkpoint inhibition. In the Phase 1b program, documented abscopal responses were seen in distant, un-injected lesions. Vidutolimod is an investigational therapy and has not been approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration or any other regulatory agency.
The merger agreement provides for Regeneron, through a subsidiary, to initiate a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Checkmate at an all-cash price of $10.50 per share of Checkmate common stock. The closing of the tender offer will be subject to certain conditions, including the tender of at least a majority of the outstanding shares of Checkmate common stock, the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. Upon the successful completion of the tender offer, Regeneron will acquire all shares not acquired in the tender through a second-step merger. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2022.
Regeneron's legal advisor for the transaction is Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Centerview Partners is serving as Checkmate's financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP is serving as its legal advisor.