Australian drug discovery and development firm Bionomics bought San Diego-based biotech Eclipse Therapeutics in a scrip-based $10-million deal, to acquire the firm’s CSC Rx Discovery™ cancer stem cell (CSC)-targeting discovery platform and pipeline, and gain a presence in the U.S. Founded in 2011 as a spin-out from Biogen Idec’s oncology franchise, Eclipse is developing a pipeline of antibody-based therapeutics that inhibit the growth of cancer stem cells. Lead solid tumor candidate ET101 is expected to move into clinical trials in 2014.

Bionomics is focused on exploiting its MultiCore®, Angene®, and ionX® platforms for the discovery and development of drugs against cancer and central nervous system disorders. The firm’s lead vascular disrupting agent, anticancer compound BNC105, is in Phase II trials against renal cancer, and is also in development against ovarian cancer. A Phase II trial evaluating BNC105 against metastatic mesothelioma has been completed. Bionomics CNS pipeline is headed by BNC210, which has completed Phase I trials as a potential treatment for anxiety and panic disorders.

“This acquisition elevates and expands Bionomics’ oncology pipeline beyond BNC105, our primary cancer drug candidate which is now at advanced clinical stages,” comments Deborah Rathjen, Ph.D., the firm’s CEO. “The Eclipse acquisition will provide Bionomics with an important strategic base in the U.S., the world’s largest pharmaceutical market.”

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