Genexine and SCM Life Science said Wednesday that they took over Argos Therapeutics, a U.S. biotech firm, for 12.5 billion won ($11.1 million).
Based in North Carolina, Argos Therapeutics specializes in developing personalized anti-cancer therapies and has experience in conducting a phase 3 clinical trial. It also owns a 20,000 square feet current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) facility.
The company's anticancer drug is a dendritic cell-based personalized cancer vaccine. Argos conducted a phase 3 clinical trial on 460 kidney cancer patients at 120 institutions in the U.S., EU and Israel.
However, the company failed to prove statistically valid data when comparing it with the control group and decided to terminate the study on April 19, 2018. NASDAQ decided to delist the company stocks in April 2018.
With the acquisition, the two Korean companies own Argos’ major assets, including cell therapy production facilities, researchers and intellectual property rights. They plan to rename the company as CoImmune.
“The two biggest advantages of this acquisition are the fact that Argos has a cGMP facility and had completed a large-scale clinical trial for cancer patients in the U.S.,” a Genexine official said. “We also expect the synergy created by combining Argos' dendritic cell cancer vaccine and Genexine’s GX-I7 will have meaningful clinical trial results.”
Argos' experience will be beneficial in the future when various pipelines, including immunotherapeutic drugs that are owned by Genexine, enter the clinic in the U.S., he added.
SCM Life Science CEO Rhee Byung-gun said, “Through the acquisition of Argos, the company plans to build a production facility for cGMP cell therapy in the U.S. and produce a high-purity stem cell treatment drug using the company’s layer separation culture technology.”
Also, the company expects that the newly obtained Argos’ dendritic cell-based personalized cancer into its pipeline will contribute to SCM Life Science's advancement into the global market, Rhee added.
The two companies plan to establish a management strategy for CoImmune and discuss new indications with the Argos researchers.
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