07 April 2011

Wedding announcement: SuperGen and Astex

It’s wedding season in the world of fragments – last month we noted the merger of Daiichi Sankyo and Plexxikon, and today SuperGen and Astex Therapeutics announced that they are tying the knot. Unfortunately the “dowry” in this case is considerably smaller: SuperGen will pay Astex shareholders $25 million cash upfront, with an additional $30 million in deferred payments. Astex shareholders will, however, still retain 35% equity in the combined company.

Astex has long been a leader in fragment-based drug discovery, having taken at least three programs from fragments to clinical compounds (see blog entries on AT13387, AT9283, and AT7519). Perhaps it is in recognition of this that the combined entity will be called Astex Pharmaceuticals. Practical Fragments wishes everyone involved the best of luck.


Unknown said...
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Peter Kenny said...

I think that it could be a case of A coming before S. Also it's good to have at least one letter in the name with a high Scrabble score.

Glyn Williams said...

Thanks for your best wishes, Dan. While it is still an engagement, we are hopeful that the marriage will shortly be approved by the two sets of shareholders and finally celebrated by a listing of the new Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc on Nasdaq. In the meantime I have a wedding present list, should any of the Practical Fragments readers wish to mark the event in advance!

More seriously, it is should be a very good move for both partners. From the Astex perspective it adds significant clinical development and regulatory expertise plus the funding to advance our clinical pipeline, while allowing the research base to continue to develop fragment based methods against important (and often difficult) cancer targets. For Supergen, it accelerates their business model and adds a proven discovery platform to their development expertise, which should ultimately be reflected in shareholder value.

This should be taken as another indication that there is considerable value in a fragment-based approach to drug design and that Astex's application of it is mature enough to take the next step into the big wide world.