Intarcia Therapeutics said today it will acquire Phoundry Pharmaceuticals for an undisclosed price, in a deal the buyer said will enhance its internal efforts to build upon the clinical success of its Phase III GLP-1 therapy ITCA 650.

Phoundry was founded earlier this year following layoffs at GlaxoSmithKline, where it was part of the pharma giant’s Enteroendocrine Discovery Performance Unit. Phoundry has worked to develop a portfolio of optimized peptides in diabetes and obesity.

Intarcia said it will have three distinct near-term R&D programs targeting diabetes and obesity as a result of the Phoundry acquisition, as well as its antibody fragment collaboration launched earlier this year with Numab:

  • ITCA 650 + Optimized Peptide 1 targeting type 2 diabetes and/or obesity
  • ITCA 650 + Optimized Peptide 2 targeting type 2 diabetes and/or obesity
  • ITCA 650 + single chain antibody fragment targeting type 2 diabetes and/or obesity

All three are based on Intarcia’s ITCA 650, now under study in the global Phase III FREEDOM clinical trial program. Intarcia said it planned to advance into clinical study by 2017 “multiple” next-generation combination approaches, using ITCA 650 as well as Phoundry and Numab assets.

According to the company, ITCA 650 is the first injection-free GLP-1 therapy with the potential to deliver up to a full year of treatment from a single placement.

ITCA 650 is a once or twice-yearly continuous subcutaneous delivery of exenatide being developed for type 2 diabetes. The drug candidate uses Intarcia's technology platform, which consists of a matchstick-size, miniature osmotic pump placed sub-dermally to provide continuous and consistent drug therapy; and the company's formulation technology, designed to maintain stability of therapeutic proteins and peptides at human body temperatures for extended periods of time.

“Incredible progress with ITCA 650 and our two pipeline deals this year have transformed the strategic outlook for the company, and put us in a position to build on ITCA 650 and advance a potentially leading portfolio of disruptive once or twice yearly combo therapies in diabetes and obesity,” Kurt Graves, Intarcia’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

He added that Intarcia and Phoundry “share a common vision that combination therapies of optimized peptides have the potential to mimic and extend the metabolic benefits and weight loss potential associated with bariatric surgery, all potentially delivered in our proprietary once or twice yearly mini-pumps.”

Intarcia said it will retain all Phoundry employees as well a presence in Research Triangle Park, NC, and expects to double its headcount within 12-18 months.

Phoundry CEO Paul Feldman, Ph.D., will join Intarcia's executive leadership team, serving as VP, head of discovery and translational medicine, while Phoundry CSO Andrew Young, M.B. Ch.B., Ph.D., will hold a vp-CSO title with the acquiring company. Another Phoundry founder, Ved Srivastava, Ph.D., will become Intarcia’s vp, peptide chemistry.

The three co-founded Phoundry with Mark Paulik, Ph.D., James Way and Shane Roller. A. M. Pappas & Associates, the parent company of Pappas Ventures, is also a co-founder of Phoundry and led the company’s successful first seed financing, announced as being completed last month.

While the amount raised was not included in the announcement, Phoundry submitted a Form D to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on August 6 disclosing plans to raise $1 million.

Intarcia said it will fund the Phoundry acquisition through a combination of cash and stock.

“Combining our highly potent, selective and stable peptides with Intarcia's ability to dial in the optimal dose for maximum efficacy, while eliminating regular self-injections with once or twice yearly administration, should set the stage for a number of novel, transformative medicines that can fundamentally change the standard of care and dramatically improve adherence with therapy over time,” Dr. Feldman stated.

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