Roche (OTCQX: RHHBY) gave Ignyta (Nasdaq: RXDX) shareholders an early Christmas present with the announcement on Friday of an all cash deal for Ignyta at $27.00 per share, or about $1.7 billion on a fully diluted basis. This price represents a premium of 74% to Ignyta’s closing price of $15.55 on Thursday. The merger agreement was unanimously approved by both boards.
Ignyta, based in San Diego, is focused on precision medicine in oncology aiming to test, identify, and treat patients with cancers harboring specific rare mutations.
Ignyta’s lead candidate, entrectinib, is an orally bioavailable, CNS-active tyrosine kinase inhibitor being developed for tumors with ROS1 fusions in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and NTRK fusions across a broad range of solid tumors. Entrectinib has been granted PRIME designation by the European Medicines Agency and Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA.
In the recently announced interim data including patients from the STARTRK-2 trial, in patients with ROS1 fusion-positive advanced NSCLC, entrectinib demonstrated a 78% (25 out of 32, by investigator) and 69% (22 out of 32, by blinded independent central review, BICR) confirmed objective response rate (ORR). Entrectinib also showed a median duration of response of 28.6 months and median progression free survival of 29.6 months in this population, with 53% of patients remaining on study.
Moreover, entrectinib showed 83% (5 out of 6 by BICR) confirmed intracranial ORR in patients with measurable brain metastases. Safety was consistent with previous studies of entrectinib. With over 200 patients treated at the recommended phase 2 dose, most adverse events were Grade 1-2 and reversible, and only 3% of patients were discontinued from the study due to treatment-related AEs.
Cancer is a highly complex disease and many patients suffer from mutations which are difficult to detect and treat. The agreement with Ignyta builds on Roche’s strategy of fitting treatments to patients and will allow Roche to broaden and strengthen its oncology portfolio globally.
– Daniel O’Day, CEO, Roche Pharmaceuticals.
The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2018.
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