TORONTO, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ - Trillium Therapeutics Inc. (TTI), a Canadian biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has acquired all assets belonging to Arthron Ltd. Pty. (Arthron), a subsidiary of Prima Biomed Ltd. (Prima). Prima, a publicly traded Australian biotechnology company, develops technologies in the fields of immunology and cancer immunotherapy originating from the Austin Research Institute, in Melbourne, Australia. "This acquisition is a major step in executing our strategy of building a quality R&D portfolio of cutting-edge immunology-related assets. We believe this will create lasting value for our current shareholders and broaden the appeal for future investors," commented Dr. Niclas Stiernholm, TTI's CEO. "This transaction not only adds three new top level research programs to TTI's pipeline, but it also provides us with excellent opportunities to build new development partnerships, and allows us to retain and advance several programs internally. This acquisition is a well conceived transaction, which will transform the company and help move it to the next level." Arthron owns or controls a large estate of intellectual property related to the activating receptor FcyRIIa, pioneered by Professor Mark Hogarth, currently the director of the Austin Research Institute. Arthron has demonstrated that this Fc receptor may be an important target in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and that inhibition of this receptor can alleviate symptoms in several disease models. The Arthron programs comprise therapeutic approaches employing both small molecules and biologics in the treatment of immune-mediated disorders. In an effort to maximize shareholder value, TTI will advance some of the programs internally while forming partnerships to advance others. Dr. Bob Uger, TTI's Vice President R&D, added "The Arthron acquisition complements our existing research activities and provides us with an opportunity to leverage our immunology expertise to get actively involved in the B cell side of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Working in an industry driven by innovation, we are particularly pleased to have another value-added research partner in the Austin Research Institute, one of Australia's premier medical research institutes, and to be able to continue to create new and valuable intellectual property." Uger continued, "Our goal is to build a company based on strong and compelling science, and Arthron clearly exemplifies this." In return for all of Arthron's assets, Prima will receive an upfront cash payment and TTI common shares representing approximately 5.6% of TTI's outstanding share capital. Prima is eligible to receive additional TTI shares if certain business development and clinical milestones are met. About Trillium: Trillium Therapeutics Inc. is a private research and development company specializing in innovative therapies that restore balance to the immune system in conditions associated with aberrant and harmful immune responses. These include autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, graft rejection, cancer and chronic viral diseases. The Company identifies early-stage therapeutic candidates with promising preclinical profiles and advances these towards clinical testing, with the primary objective of demonstrating safety and efficacy in humans. TTI currently has two core programs targeting the CD200 immunoregulatory axis, as well as several exploratory programs. The company has a broad network of external academic and industry R&D collaborations, including a recent license agreement with a major US biotechnology company.
SOURCE Trillium Therapeutics Inc.