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GEN News Highlights : Sep 10, 2012

Merger to Focus on Phage Therapy to Fight Infections

Bacteriophage therapeutics firm AmpliPhi Biosciences is to acquire Australian firm Special Phage Services (SPS) in an all-shares deal to create an anti-infectives firm focused on developing phage-based therapeutics against antibiotic-resistant infections. AmpliPhi was itself established in 2011 through the merger of Biocontrol with Targeted Genetics.

Under terms of the deal AmpliPhi has offered up to 40 million shares of its common stock in exchange for 100% of the fully diluted share capital of Special Phase Holdings, the holding company of SPS. If the deal is ratified, 20 million AmpliPhi shares would be held in escrow. If all shares are released, dependent on potential warranty claims by AmpliPhi and the achievement of specific milestones, SPH shareholders would own about 47% of the outstanding AmpliPhi shares.

AmpiPhi is focused on the development of bacteriophage therapeutics, primarily targeting Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Lead clinical candidate Biophage-PA is in Phase II trials for the treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections responsible for chronic inner ear disease and other topical infections, particularly those that are resistant to antibiotics. The firm’s Biophage-PR candidate is a bacteriophage therapeutic for the treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis. Research is also ongoing to develop products targeting hospital-acquired infections and burns caused by the bacterium. SPS is developing a portfolio of phage-based treatments against antibiotic-resistant infections including MRSA, MRPA (multi-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa)and VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci).

“The combination of AmpliPhi with SPH would result in the creation of the first global phage therapy company covering the U.S., Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions," comments Phil Young, AmpliPhi president and CEO. “The combined companies would possess an unmatched pipeline of innovative developmental phage therapies. Our initial post-acquisition focus is expected to be the treatment of bacterial infections that are resistant to conventional antibiotics. Initial targets include global pandemic strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, MRSA, E. coli, Klebsiella and other hospital-related super bugs.”