Purple Biotech to paint with Immunorizon's tri-specific antibodies in small M&A deal

Purple Biotech is adding Immunorizon’s tri-specific antibodies to its paint palette in an acquisition that could reach $100 million.

The M&A deal, announced Thursday morning, will see privately held Immunorizon come under the wing of Purple, which focuses on tumor immune evasion and drug resistance. Purple has two lead assets in the pipeline: NT219 and CM24 for solid tumors and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, respectively.

But the Israeli company was looking for more and has now found a way to expand its pipeline with the Immunorizon buy. Purple will now own Immunorizon’s lead asset, a tri-specific antibody that engages T cells and NK cells to build an immune response in the tumor microenvironment. The candidate goes after a target on solid tumors that is correlated with advanced disease, increased invasiveness and poor clinical outcomes, according to the release. Immunorizon’s portfolio aims to increase the therapeutic window for patients.

Purple CEO Gil Efron touted the clinical potential of multispecifics in a statement, saying that the modality had been de-risked thanks to the approval of several competing therapies as well as industry partnerships. He expects to be able to move one of the new candidates into human trials in about two years, along with continuing advancement of the existing pipeline.

As for the deal terms, Purple will acquire 100% of VC-backed Immunorizon’s shares for a $3.5 million upfront payment plus an aggregate $3.5 million in American depository shares. Milestones and royalties of up to $94 million have been offered on the back end of the deal, with the total value not to exceed $100 million excluding the upfront payment.

The deal comes as many biotechs struggle to survive in a difficult market environment, with M&A deals from larger pharmas few and far between. Many small companies have been opting to combine and weather the bumpy market together.