Biopharmaceutical firm GTx has entered into a merger agreement with clinical-stage biotechnology firm Oncternal Therapeutics to create a new a publicly-traded and clinical-stage oncology company.
Oncternal Therapeutics will be the name of the combined company, which will engage in the development of potential first-in-class therapeutic candidates for cancers.
As per terms of the deal, the stockholders of Oncternal will own the majority common stock of GTx. Oncternal Therapeutics shareholders will own 75% of the outstanding shares of common stock of the combined company, while GTx stockholders will hold the remaining 25% of the outstanding shares of common stock.
Oncternal’s cirmtuzumab is an investigational, potential first-in-class anti-ROR1 monoclonal antibody. Cirmtuzumab is currently under phase 1/ 2 clinical trial in combination with ibrutinib to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
An investigator-initiated phase 1 clinical trial of cirmtuzumab in combination with paclitaxel for women with metastatic breast cancer is also being carried out at the University of California San Diego.
The TK216 is an investigational and potential first-in-class small molecule designed to restrict the biological activity of ETS-family transcription factor oncoproteins. It is being assessed alone and in combination with vincristine in a phase 1 clinical trial in patients with relapsed or refractory Ewing sarcoma.
A ROR-1 targeted chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) program is currently under preclinical development at UC San Diego for hematologic and solid tumors.
A selective androgen receptor degrader (SARD) program is an investigational and potential first-in-class preclinical program designed for oral administration to treat castration-resistant prostate cancer in men who are non-responsive to current androgen targeted therapies.
If the merger completes by the end of the second quarter this year, around $26m will be provided in the form of cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments for the combined company.
The funds will be used to advance Oncternal’s programs into the second quarter of 2020, including the phase 2 study of cirmtuzumab and ibrutinib
Oncternal cofounder, president and CEO Dr James Breitmeyer will serve as president and CEO for the combined company, while Oncternal cofounder David Hale will act as board chairman for the combined firm.
Breitmeyer said: “This merger introduces Oncternal and its promising oncology pipeline to the public market and provides additional capital resources to advance our programs to potential value inflection points.”