Targacept and Catalyst Biosciences entered into a definitive agreement to merge the two companies into a new company that will be named Catalyst Biosciences. The focus will be to use engineered human proteases to develop next-generation biopharmaceuticals with an improved efficacy and therapeutic index to treat major diseases.

The combined company will sport a pipeline of protease therapeutics, including PF-05280602 (formerly CB 813d), an engineered Factor VIIa (FVIIa) drug candidate that successfully completed a Phase I clinical trial and is being developed by Pfizer under license from Catalyst. The product is designed to address the 1.5 billion hemophilia market by potentially enabling lower and fewer doses of an engineered Factor VIIa to control bleeding episodes and to potentially achieve effective prophylaxis in hemophilia inhibitor patients.

“This merger establishes a well-capitalized public company with resources to advance our unique protease-based product candidates through multiple future value inflection points,” said Nassim Usman, Ph.D., CEO of Catalyst. “In addition to our Factor VIIa program we will also have sufficient resources to initiate and complete a planned proof-of-concept study of CB 2679d, a next-generation Factor IX for hemophilia B patients, as well as further develop of our novel Factor Xa variant and our anti-complement programs.”

As part of the proposed transaction, the stockholders of Catalyst will initially own approximately 65% of the combined company, and the operations of both companies will be combined. Targacept cash remaining in the combined company will be $35 million, along with an anticipated $5 million of cash from Catalyst.

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