Circassia Drops $377 Million for Two Asthma Firms, Aerocrine and Prosonix

Circassia Pharma Drops $377 Million for Two Asthma Firms, Aerocrine and Prosonix
May 15, 2015
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

U.K.-based Circassia Pharma announced today that it will acquire Swedish company Aerocrine and Prosonix. Circassia will buy Aerocrine by about $219 million and up to about $158 million for Prosonix.

Circassia focuses on allergy treatments. The company’s lead product, Cat-SPIRE, is currently in a Phase III registration trial for cat allergies. In its pipeline are three more products that have completed clinical proof-of-concept Phase IIb studies, although for the treatment of various allergies. “Aerocrine has products that they sell to allergy asthma specialists, the very customers we want to sell our allergy products to, so that’s a really good strategic fit,” said Steve Harris, Circassia’s chief executive officer in a statement. “Prosonix has near-term products that help us create an allergy-asthma specialist pharmaceutical company.”

Aerocrine also focuses on allergy treatments and inflammation related to breathing. The company markets NIOX MINO, a tool to help in the diagnosis and control of airway disease.

Prosonix is a private company headquartered in Oxford, U.K., and it too focuses on inhaled respiratory medications. The deal for Prosonix has an upfront payment of £70 million with an additional £30 million in milestone payments.

“Today’s announcement highlights the significant progress that Prosonix has made in recent years and provides a strong platform to deliver the potential value of our existing and future pipeline of respiratory medicines developed using our unique particle-engineering technology,” said David Hipkiss, chief executive officer of Prosonix in a statement. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all Prosonix employees, investors, and collaborators whose collective efforts have made this transaction possible. I am confident that the acquired products, technology, and our ‘Respiratory Medicine by Design’ philosophy will become an important part of Circassia Pharmaceuticals, they representing a perfect home for the enablement and development of a range of successful new treatments for patients.”

Investors in Prosonix have included Entrepreneurs Fund, Gilde Healthcare, Gimv, Quest for Growth, Solon Ventures and Ventech.

On Jan. 8, 2015, Circassia announced it had completed recruitment into the Phase III study for Cat-SPIRE. The total recruitment stood at 1,409 subjects and expects to report results in early 2016. The study is taking place in 160 centers in the U.S., Canada, Russia and six European countries.

Circassia stock fell 7.5 percent on news of the acquisition, while Aerocrine stock jumped 14 percent.

Clearly the appeal to Prosonix is that the company will soon be launching its first product and needed a sales force. Circassia, which has been focused on a single technology platform will acquire a broader portfolio to work with.

“We believe Aerocrine’s established commercial infrastructure, which is already targeting our core potential customers in key markets,” said Steve Harris, chief executive officer of Circassia in a statement, “will optimize the launch of Cat-SPIRE, which is the first of our next-generation allergy immunotherapies, and which remains on track to report pivotal phase III results in H1 2016.”

Other companies working on cat allergy treatments include Amgen , ALK-Abello, Biomay AG and Laboratorios LETI .

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