12:00 AM
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Nov 19, 2007
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

A bird in the hand

With its funds dwindling, Raven Biotechnologies Inc. last week looks to have pulled off the equivalent of a small IPO through its planned reverse merger with publicly traded VaxGen Inc., a company with cash but no pipeline left to call its own.

Indeed, all of the newco's development programs will come from Raven. The lead product is RAV12, a MAb against an undisclosed cell-surface antigen that is expected to begin Phase II testing to treat pancreatic and colon cancer next year. The company also has four MAbs in preclinical testing to treat various cancers. Wyeth (WYE, Madison, N.J.) has an option to exclusively license an undisclosed MAb to treat cancer.

Although VXGN (South San Francisco, Calif.) brings no product candidates to the deal, it does bring cash and a fully equipped manufacturing facility, allowing its stockholders to own 51% of the newco.

Raven (South San Francisco, Calif.) uses its discovery platform to rapidly generate, screen and validate large panels of high-affinity MAbs. The company says by using human tissue-specific progenitor cell lines and focusing on intact cell-surface proteins, the technology can identify antigens typically inaccessible using genomics- or proteomics-based approaches.

Raven's CellArray...

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