AcelRx to Buy Lowell Therapeutics; Kala Expands Pipeline with Combangio Acquisition


AcelRx Pharmaceuticals and Kala Pharmaceuticals both shared acquisition news on Monday. Here’s a closer look at each of the acquisition announcements.

AcelRx Pharmaceuticals

AcelRx was up 3.2% in premarket trading on Monday after announcing its plans to acquire privately-held Lowell Therapeutics.  The deal, which has already been approved by both companies’ board of directors, is expected to close by the end of this year and is worth approximately $32.5 million plus other adjustments and net cash acquired.

If the deal gets the go-ahead, AcelRx will add Lowell’s Niyad™, an investigational product that earned a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Breakthrough Designation, to its pipeline. The regional anticoagulant is being studied for the dialysis circuit during continuous renal replacement therapy for acute kidney injuries.

“The acquisition of Lowell will provide us with a late-stage asset that has received Breakthrough Device Designation status from the FDA and has the potential to fulfill an unmet need for regional anticoagulation of the dialysis circuit, an indication for which there are currently no FDA-approved products," said Vince Angotti, Chief Executive Officer of AcelRx. "This acquisition will further diversify AcelRx's portfolio as this broad-spectrum, synthetic serine protease inhibitor may have a number of other potential indications suited to medically supervised settings.”

In the same announcement, the company also shared its third quarter financial results. A couple of highlights from the announcement included a total revenue of $1.9 million in Q3 2021 and DSUVIA® exceeding its year-end goal of 615 approvals with 646 formulary approvals as of October 31.

Kala Pharmaceuticals

On Monday, Kala Pharmaceuticals said it had acquired clinical-stage company Combangio.

“Today’s acquisition marks a pivotal moment for Kala and a meaningful acceleration toward our goal of strengthening Kala’s pipeline for the treatment of front and back of the eye diseases,” said Mark Iwicki, Chief Executive Officer of Kala.

The acquisition will allow Kala to integrate Combangio’s bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) secretome product candidate into its pipeline. The candidate, KPI-012, has received U.S. FDA Orphan Drug Designation for the treatment of persistent corneal epithelial defect (PCED), a severe ocular disease.

“KPI-012 is a highly innovative product, which leverages a multifactorial mechanism of action to address the complex process of healing severe corneal defects,” Iwicki said. “KPI-012 is currently in development for PCED, with potential application across a wide range of orphan diseases of the eye.”

KPI-012 showed positive safety and efficacy results in a Phase Ib trial. Seven out of the eight patients that were given KPI-012 twice-daily showed improvement in their PCED, with six of those patients completely healing during the treatment period.

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