Bay Area's Ultragenyx Swoops in With $138 Million Bid for Almost-Sold Dimension Therapeutics

Published: Sep 19, 2017

Bay Area's Ultragenyx Swoops in With $138 Million Bid for Almost-Sold Dimension Therapeutics September 18, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

NOVATO, Calif. – Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. is taking on the role of rival suitor for troubled Dimension Therapeutics . Just weeks after gene therapy company Regenxbio Inc. announced it struck an $86 million deal to acquire Dimension, Ultragenyx is offering far more money.

This morning, Ultragenyx said it made a proposal to acquire Dimension for $138 million in cash. Regenxbio’s offer was an all-stock deal. Ultragenyx said it would offer $5.50 per share for the company – a premium of more than 358 percent to Dimension’s unaffected share price as of August 24, 2017. Ultragenyx said the offer is also a premium of 24 percent and 48 percent over the implied value of the all-stock consideration offered by Regenxbio. In its announcement, Ultragenyx said the deal is a “superior alternative” for Dimension and its shareholders than the offer presented by Regenxbio.

Emil Kakkis, president and chief executive officer of Ultragenyx said the deal provides a “compelling opportunity to create value” to advance Dimension’s rare disease-focused gene therapies using Ultragenyx’s clinical and regulatory expertise. Kakkis served as a scientific adviser to Dimension and said his company shares Dimension’s vision for developing transformational new therapies for patients with rare genetic diseases. In a statement, he said bringing the two companies together “would accelerate the process of bringing important new therapies to market for patients.”

“We believe Ultragenyx and its product candidates are highly complementary to Dimension’s and present no competitive overlap, giving us confidence that we could combine our two companies quickly and seamlessly,” Kakkis said in a statement.

In a letter sent to Dimension CEO Annalisa Jenkins, Ultragenyx laid out the reasons why it would be a better fit than Regenxbio. In addition to touting Dimension’s drug candidates, Ultragenyx said it envisioned saving some Dimension jobs by “maintaining a gene therapy development unit and manufacturing development team at Dimension’s facilities in Massachusetts.”

Although Kakkis has an intimate knowledge of Dimension’s drug candidates, Regenxbio also has its fair share of insight into the company. Regenxbio provided Dimension with the vector tech it uses in developing its candidates, John Carroll noted in Endpoints News.

Regenxbio struck with its offer in August after Dimension revealed interim data results from its Phase I/II hemophilia B study of drug candidate DTX101 that showed questionable safety issues regarding its therapy. Regenxbio though was looking at other Dimension therapies, DTX301 and DTX401. Regenxbio said those two candidates will be added to its pipeline. DTX301 is being developed for the treatment of ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency. The drug candidate is designed to deliver a copy of the OTC gene to liver cells. It is in Phase I/II development. Dimension’s DTX401 is being developed for the treatment of glycogen storage disease type Ia (GSDIa). DTX401 is designed to use the NAV AAV8 vector to deliver a copy of the glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) gene to liver cells. Regenxbio said it will file an investigational new drug application for DTX401 in early 2018. Both DTX301 and DTX401 have been granted Orphan Drug Designation in the United States and Europe.

BioSpace reached out to Regenxbio this morning for comment on the new suitor for Dimension. We will update when the company issues a statement.

Since the announcement this morning, shares of Dimension are up more than 9 percent to $4.20 in early trading. Shares of Ultragenyx are down slightly to $54.89. Regenxbio stock is up slightly to $28.65.

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