- MEI Pharma and Infinity Pharmaceuticals announced a merger. These are the details.
MEI Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: MEIP) – a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on advancing new therapies for cancer – and Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: INFI) – a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing eganelisib, a first-in-class, oral, immuno-oncology macrophage reprogramming drug candidate – announced that the companies entered into a definitive merger agreement for an all-stock transaction forming a company combining the expertise and resources of MEI and Infinity to advance a robust pipeline of three clinical-stage oncology drug candidates. All 3 clinical-stage development programs have the potential, in combination with current therapies, to overcome known resistance mechanisms and meaningfully improve patient outcomes.
The combined company’s clinical-stage oncology development pipeline consists of 3 differentiated programs:
— Eganelisib – an oral immuno-oncology macrophage reprogramming product candidate – is planned to be evaluated in combination with the PD-1 targeted checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA) in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC);
— Voruciclib, an oral CDK9 inhibitor, currently being studied in combination with venetoclax (VENCLEXTA) in patients with hematologic malignancies; and
— ME-344, a novel tumor-selective mitochondrial inhibitor targeting the OXPHOS pathway, to be evaluated in combination with bevacizumab (AVASTIN) in patients with relapsed colorectal cancer.
The merger agreement has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. And the merger is expected to close in mid-2023, subject to approvals by MEI Pharma and Infinity shareholders, respectively, and other customary closing conditions.
“We are very excited to enter into this agreement with Infinity given the strength of a combined organization that builds on each company’s potential. The combined organization will have three differentiated clinical-stage oncology assets, expected funding into mid-2025 to reach clinical data in all three programs, and a team with extensive oncology clinical development expertise. I believe these ingredients place the merged organization in a strong position to create value for all our stakeholders. The new company’s lead program, eganelisib, has already been tested in over 350 patients with demonstrated clinical activity in multiple settings, including in combination therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Along with voruciclib and ME 344, this gives us three promising clinical-stage programs that we believe have significant potential to deliver improved therapeutic options for patients.”
— Daniel Gold, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of MEI Pharma
“With this planned merger, we are creating a company that is well capitalized to advance a differentiated clinical-stage therapeutic development pipeline leveraging an experienced drug development and leadership team. With data supporting multiple potential development paths for eganelisib, we have prioritized head and neck cancer based on our ability to leverage encouraging progression free survival data from this patient population in MARIO-1. Unfortunately, head and neck cancer remains an area of high unmet medical need with a relatively short PFS and overall survival in patients treated with checkpoint inhibitor monotherapy. Because of this, we prioritized the initiation of a randomized, controlled Phase 2 clinical study combining eganelisib with pembrolizumab in head and neck cancer patients which is intended to demonstrate improved clinical benefit.”
— Adelene Perkins, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Infinity
“I am looking forward to leading the combined company which, beyond the promising clinical-stage pipeline, leverages the capabilities and resources of two organizations sharing a commitment to developing new oncology therapeutics. The combined company is built around extensive small molecule development experience based on solid science and backed by promising data. At closing, the combined company is projected to have a strong balance sheet of approximately $100 million which is expected to fund planned studies for our clinical candidates through mid-2025 with the potential to deliver near and long-term value for patients and shareholders.”
— David Urso, J.D., Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of MEI Pharma, and the Chief Executive Officer of the combined company upon closing of the merger\