Aduro and Chinook to Merge, Launch New Clinical Trials for their Pipeline


Aduro Biotech and Chinook Therapeutics announced on Tuesday that they will be entering a merger agreement. Aduro will acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Chinook in exchange for shares of Aduro common stock, representing 50% of Aduro’s outstanding common stock.

When the transaction is completed, the combined company is expected to have about $200 million in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities at closing. This includes $25 million in additional financing from Chinook’s existing investors. Aduro will be renamed Chinook Therapeutics, Inc., and will trade on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol “KDNY.”

“After an extensive and thorough review of strategic and potentially transformative options for Aduro, we are very pleased to announce a proposed merger with Chinook,” said Stephen T. Isaacs, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Aduro. “We believe the combined company’s strong pipeline, near-term milestones, seasoned leadership team and focus on kidney diseases offer an excellent opportunity to benefit patients and provide value to our stockholders.”

The combined company pipeline will include atrasentan, an investigational selective endothelin receptor antagonist; BION-1301, an investigational humanized IgG4 monoclonal antibody that blocks APRIL binding to both the BCMA and TACI receptor; and CHK-336, an investigational small molecule.

The newly formed company intends to advance its pipeline through several clinical trials, including a Phase III trial of atrasentan and a Phase I trial of CHK-336.

“The proposed merger with Aduro is a unique opportunity for Chinook to build a leading company in the kidney disease space, particularly by pursuing complementary approaches to treating IgA nephropathy with both atrasentan and BION-1301,” said Eric Dobmeier, president and chief executive officer of Chinook Therapeutics. “The combined company will have the demonstrated expertise and strong balance sheet to advance its three lead programs towards multiple anticipated milestones over the next 12 to 18 months. I’m grateful to our existing investors, Versant, Apple Tree and Samsara, for their ongoing support and the additional capital they’ve committed to help build Chinook and advance our pipeline of novel product candidates for rare, severe chronic kidney diseases.”

These are not the only two companies to pursue a merger in recent weeks. On May 18, BioPharmX Corporation announced that it had concluded its merger with Timber Pharmaceuticals LLC. The combined company is now operating under the name Timber Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and is trading under the ticker symbol, “TMBR.”

"We are excited to have completed this merger and welcome the BioPharmX shareholders to Timber,” said John Koconis, Chief Executive Officer of Timber, at the conclusion of the merger. “With the completion of the $25 million financing that is expected to fund our two late stage product candidates through multiple key clinical development milestones, we believe Timber is well positioned for its transition into a public company. Timber's business model which is focused on orphan dermatologic indications is currently conducting two Phase 2B clinical trials on two of our product candidates and we look forward to realizing the value of our pipeline to the benefit of all of Timber's stakeholders." 

Timber Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that is focused on the development and commercialization of treatments for orphan dermatologic diseases.

Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Inc. also announced on May 19 that its stockholders had approved all merger-related proposals involving Qualigen, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. When the merger concludes, Ritter Pharmaceuticals, Inc. will operate under the name Qualigen Therapeutics, Inc.

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