Toronto-based Stem Cell Therapeutics (SCT) said today it plans to merge with Trillium Therapeutics, in a $2.85-million deal that would create Canada’s only public company focused on advancing cancer stem cell technologies.

“The resulting entity will be well positioned as a global contender in the cancer stem cell field,” David Allan, SCT’s executive chairman, said in a statement.

The combined company would maintain a portfolio that combines the Tigecycline small-molecule program—recently optioned by SCT from University Health Network, a three-hospital research program affiliated with the University of Toronto—with the SIRPaFc fusion protein TTI-621, which Trillium has sought to develop.

TTI-621 is designed to augment the immune system’s ability to destroy cancer stem cells by targeting the protein CD47. TTI-621—expected to enter formal clinical studies in the second quarter of this year—is being developed initially as a treatment for acute myeloid leukemia, with potential applications in other hematological and solid tumors.

Also in Trillium’s pipeline are the fully human CD200-specific monoclonal antibody, which is ready to enter formal IND-enabling studies. In addition to its preclinical portfolio, Trillium last year launched a Phase I trial for its TTI-1612, a recombinant soluble form of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF), in patients with interstitial cystitis. Results from the trial are expected later this year.

Trillium’s current CEO Niclas Stiernholm, Ph.D., will become the CEO of the new SCT. Dr. Stiernholm’s management team at Trillium will round out the management for the combined company: Robert Uger, Ph.D., vp, research and development, will be the new SCT’s chief scientific officer; Penka Petrova, Ph.D., director of drug development, will be vp, drug development; and James Parsons, director of finance and administration, will be CFO.

Michael Moore, Ph.D., D.Sc., Trillium’s long-serving chairman and a veteran biotechnology executive, will join SCT’s board of directors upon closing of the transaction, planned for the first half of this year subject to corporate and regulatory approvals, and securing of additional financing by offering $2.5 million through a public offering.

SCT would pay Trillium shareholders $1.65 million of its common shares and $1.2 million cash.

For the year ending June 30, 2012, Trillium lost nearly $8.5 million and generated just $54,047 in revenue.

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