Healthcare company Syncona Limited says its newly established portfolio company has agreed to acquire, by a tender offer, all outstanding shares of Applied Genetic Technologies Corporation (AGTC).
AGTC is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based gene therapies for the treatment of rare and debilitating diseases with an initial focus on inherited retinal diseases (IRDs).
The deal is for approximately $23.5 million ($0.34 per share) in cash, an approximately 42% premium to the AGTC closing share price on October 21, 2022. The transaction also includes the potential for up to an additional $50 million (up to $0.73 per share) in contingent value rights to AGTC’s stockholders in the event certain milestones related to transactions involving AGTC’s assets and regulatory and commercial milestones related to AGTC’s products are achieved.
Enhancing Syncona’s gene therapy portfolio
Syncona said the acquisition of AGTC will further enhance its gene therapy portfolio and represents an opportunity for Syncona to apply its expertise in retinal gene therapy to support AGTC to drive its lead candidate, AGTC-501 (laruparetigene zosaparvovec), targeting X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP), through late-stage clinical development.
AGTC develops genetic therapies for people with rare ophthalmic, otologic and central nervous system diseases with high unmet medical need. AGTC’s lead asset, AGTC-501, is an investigational recombinant AAV vector-based gene therapy for the treatment of XLRP, a genetic eye disease that causes progressive vision loss and ultimately blindness in men. AGTC-501 recently completed a phase II follow-on study which demonstrated significant visual sensitivity improvements and a favorable safety profile. There are currently no approved treatments for this condition.
AGTC-501 has been granted U.S. Food and Drug Administration orphan drug designation, as well as European Commission orphan medicinal product designation. If the transaction closes, Syncona expects to support AGTC to advance AGTC-501 through phase II/III clinical trials and towards product approval. Following closing, Syncona also expects to support AGTC in exploring strategic options for AGTC’s broader pipeline of gene therapy products.