MDRNA forges $46M RNAi merger pact with Cequent

RNAi developer MDRNA has struck a deal to merge with Cequent Pharmaceuticals in a transaction the companies valued at $46 million. MDRNA gets a new cancer program poised to begin Phase I, Cequent's technology for delivering RNAi drugs and loans to fund the company through deal closing in July. MDRNA is also clearly hoping that the expanded company will be a stronger player in a promising field of drug development.

"We anticipate that this transaction will accelerate the development of the most promising products of both companies," said Bruce Thaw, chairman of the board of MDRNA. "We believe that the combined company will be in a strong position to advance multiple RNAi drug discovery platforms, establish premier R&D partnerships with large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and accelerate RNAi-based therapeutics to patients in need."

The merger will leave Cequent shareholders with 44% of the combined outfit and $44 million in MDRNA shares. And $2 million in shares will be used to cover option and warrant holders. Post-merger, the company will be based in Bothell, WA with operations in Cambridge, MA. MDRNA CEO Michael French will hold on to his title while Cequent CEO will be chairman of the board.

- here's MDRNA's release