Ariceum snaps up fellow European biotech Theragnostics to bolster radiopharma efforts

Radiopharmaceuticals are all the rage in cancer drug development these days, and Germany-based Ariceum Therapeutics doesn’t want to lose any ground. 

The company is paying $2.5 million in cash for British biotech Theragnostics. The acquisition brings with it a couple of assets, according to an announcement Thursday, for which Ariceum could end up handing out an additonal $41.5 million in milestone payments. 

One of the newly acquired assets, THG-008, is a radiolabeled, cancer-imaging PARP inhibitor currently in a phase 1 trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. Ariceum also takes possession of THG-009, a radiopharmaceutical therapeutic aimed at PARP that’s being developed to treat patients with glioblastoma.  

As well as taking on THG-008, the acquisition shores up Ariceum’s diagnostics efforts in other ways, with the biotech now owning the FDA-approved Nephroscan, which is used to identify kidney disorders. The test will help bolster the company’s presence in the U.S., Ariceum CEO Manfred Rüdiger, Ph.D., said in the release.

Last but not least, Ariceum’s purchase includes Theragnostics’ Ga-68 kit technology IP that’s currently licensed to Novartis, one of the Big Pharma leaders in radiopharmaceutical development.

The deal adds depth to Ariceum’s already established—albeit small—radiopharma pipeline, led by satoreotide, a potential diagnostic and treatment for neuroendocrine cancers. The company closed a 25 million euro series A round a year ago after snapping up rights to satoreotide from Ipsen. 

The purchase of Theragnostics is just the latest dealmaking on the radiopharmaceutical front, which has dominated headlines so far this year. Bicycle Therapeutics has been riding out front, inking two deals with Bayer and Novartis potentially worth up to $1.7 billion each. 

Newly launched biotechs focusing on the modality have also raked in cash. Convergent Therapeutics raised $90 million on the promise of its radiopharma pipeline in May, and, a few weeks earlier, Abdera took flight with $142 million in financing.