Opko snaps up microcap Transition for $60M to gain GLP-1/glucagon dual agonist


Opko Health ($OPK) has paid up a little--very little, in fact--to get what it sees as the most advanced clinical candidate in the new class of GLP-1/glucagon receptor dual agonists. It did a $60 million, all-stock deal to acquire microcap Transition Therapeutics ($TTHI).

Transition never recovered after it lost most of its value last June when a Phase II/III study of its lead candidate ELND005 did not meet the primary endpoint in a study to treat agitation and aggression in Alzheimer’s disease patients.

The deal price was $1.55 per share, a valuation of more than twice its closing share price on the day before the offer of $0.70. The all-stock deal values Transition at about $60 million.

“This acquisition provides OPKO with two late stage drug candidates, each of which holds exceptional market potential,” said Opko chairman and CEO Dr. Phillip Frost in a statement. “We believe TT401, a once-weekly dual GLP1/Glucagon agonist that recently showed success in a 420-patient phase 2 study, will complement OPKO’s existing oxyntomodulin product candidate (MOD-6031), which may provide enhanced therapeutic benefit through targeted delivery.”

Transition’s TT401 is a once- or twice-weekly oxyntomodulin to treat Type 2 diabetes and obesity. It’s the furthest along in the clinic among GLP-1/glucagon receptor dual agonists, it said.

In a Phase II study, the highest dose of TT401 peptide once weekly offered statistically significant superior weight loss versus an approved extended-release exenatide and placebo after 12 and 24 weeks of treatment.  

Opko also gains TT701, a Phase II, once-daily, oral selective androgen receptor modulator for patients with androgen deficiency.

“The selective androgen receptor modulator, TT701, could meet an important need in patients who can benefit from its anabolic effects without the risks associated with testosterone products,” Frost added. “We believe it fits well with our Claros 1 point-of-care diagnostic products under development for testosterone and PSA, which could serve as companion diagnostics.”

The deal is slated to close during the second half of this year.

- here is the release

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