Clinical stage immuno-oncology company Trillium Therapeutics Inc. (TRIL:NASDAQ), which is focused on developing innovative therapies for the treatment of hematologic malignancies and other cancers, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Pfizer Inc. (PFE:NYSE). The firms reported that "under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will acquire all outstanding shares of Trillium not already owned by Pfizer for an implied equity value of $2.26 billion, or $18.50 per share, in cash." The companies pointed out that the $18.50 price equates to a 118% premium to Trillium's 60-day weighted average share price.
The reported indicated that Trillium's two lead molecules, TTI-622 and TTI-621, are both currently being evaluated in Phase 1b/2 clinical studies across several indications with a primary focus on hematological malignancies. These molecules are designed to boost and enhance a person's innate immune system allowing it to effectively detect and destroy cancer cells. The company advised that "TTI-622 and TTI-621 block the signal-regulatory protein α (SIRPα)–CD47 axis, which is emerging as a key immune checkpoint in hematological malignancies."
Pfizer Oncology's Global President and General Manager Andy Schmeltz commented, "The proposed acquisition of Trillium builds on our strong track record of leadership in Oncology, enhancing our hematology portfolio as we strive to improve outcomes for people living with blood cancers around the globe. Our deep experience in understanding the science of blood cancers, along with the diverse knowledge base we have developed across our growing hematology portfolio of eight approved and investigational therapies, provide us with a foundation to advance these important potential medicines to patients who need them."
Trillium Therapeutics' CEO Jan Skvaria remarked, "We're delighted to announce Pfizer's proposed acquisition of Trillium. Today's announcement reflects Trillium's potentially best in class SIRPα–CD47 status and contribution to immuno-oncology…Trillium has the only known SIRPα–CD47 targeting molecules with clinically meaningful monotherapy responses as well as a strong basis for combination therapies, which is supported by preclinical evidence with a diverse set of therapeutic agents. With Pfizer's global reach and deep capabilities, we believe our programs will advance more quickly to the patients we've always aspired to serve. We believe this is a good outcome for patients and our shareholders."
The report stated that in clinical trials, "TTI-622 and TTI-621 have demonstrated activity as monotherapy in relapsed or refractory lymphoid malignancies, including Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL), Peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), Follicular Lymphoma (FL), and other lymphoid malignancies."
The company explained that hematological malignancies including leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma are types of cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes. The firm stated that in 2020 over 1,000,000 people globally were diagnosed with a blood cancer, accounting for about 6% of all cancer diagnoses and resulting in greater than 700,000 deaths worldwide.
Chris Boshoff, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Development Officer of Oncology at Pfizer Global Product Development stated, "We are encouraged by the early clinical data for TTI-622 and TTI-621 monotherapy for patients with heavily pretreated lymphoid malignancies and early encouraging activity for TTI-622 in patients with multiple myeloma. Just as PD-1 and PD-L1 blockers have proven to be effective immuno-therapeutics for many solid tumors, the SIRPα-CD47 interaction defines a second key immune checkpoint for which disrupting agents are expected to become another important backbone immunotherapy for multiple types of cancer, especially hematological cancers."
The report mentioned that in September 2020, Pfizer invested $25 million in Trillium as part of the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative (PBGI). Pfizer has made funding commitments to the PBGI of up to $500 million with the objective of providing needed funding for promising scientific research and identify and gaining access to areas where it may have a strategic interest.
Trillium did not provide a specific target date regarding when it expects the acquisition to be finalized but stated that the transaction remains subject to ordinary closing conditions and approval by a two-thirds majority vote by its shareholders based upon the number of shares held by each. A special shareholder meeting is to be held and if approved the deal may require regulatory approval.
Pfizer Oncology concentrates its efforts across a broad range cancer treatments and specialties. The firm listed that it has a portfolio of 24 approved cancer medicines and biosimilars for over 30 indications, which include melanoma and blood, breast, colorectal, genitourinary and lung cancers.
Pfizer Inc. is a research-based global biopharmaceutical firm based in New York, N.Y. that is engaged in the discovery, development and manufacture of healthcare products. The company is now highly focused on development of its mRNA vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 with its partner BioNTech SE (BNTX:NASDAQ). Its global portfolio includes many well-known brand prescription medications including Celebrex, Eliquis, Lipitor, Prevnar 13, Pristiq, Viagra and Xeljanz. Pfizer has a market cap of greater than $270 billion and its shares trade on the NYSE.
Trillium Therapeutics is an immuno-oncology company with offices in Cambridge, Mass. and Mississauga, Ont. Canada that is engaged in developing innovative therapies to treat cancer. The company's efforts are focused on mobilizing both the innate and the adaptive branches of the immune system to disarm and defeat cancer. The firm's clinical programs are studying two decoy receptors, TTI-621 and TTI-622, that target CD47, which it refers to as "don't eat me" signals that cancer cells often present to evade the immune system.
Trillium Therapeutics started off the day with a market cap of around $638.3 million with approximately 104.8 million shares outstanding and a short interest of about 6.0%. TRIL shares opened 190% higher today at $17.715 (+$11.625, +190.89%) over yesterday's $6.09 closing. The stock has traded today between $17.37 to $17.76 per share and is currently trading at $17.65 (+$11.56, +189.82%).
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