Regenxbio to buy battered Dimension for gene therapies

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Dimension is selling after posting weak data on its lead candidate.

Regenxbio has penned a deal to acquire Dimension Therapeutics. The takeover will see Regenxbio pay about $86 million to add two of early-stage gene therapies to its pipeline.  

Rockville, Maryland-based Regenxbio swooped on Dimension to gain the rights to DTX301 and DTX401. DTX301 is the more advanced of the candidates, having already moved into a phase 1/2 trial in patients with late-onset ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency. 

Regenxbio expects glycogen storage disease type Ia candidate DTX401 to reach the IND stage early next year, boosting the depth of its pipeline. 

“We believe that DTX301 and DTX401 are product candidates that address diseases with high unmet need and will become an important part of a strong internal pipeline at Regenxbio that has the potential to achieve multiple milestones through the end of 2018,” Regenxbio CEO Kenneth Mills said in a statement. The deal also gives Regenxbio a stake in Bayer-partnered hemophilia A gene therapy DTX201.

The notable absence from the list of programs Regenxbio is excited about—and the reason it is set to buy Dimension for a knockdown price—is DTX101. That was once Dimension’s top prospect. But  the release of data from a phase 1/2 trial of the hemophilia B candidate over the first half of the year marked it out as unlikely to succeed, particularly in light of clinical data generated by Spark Therapeutics’ rival gene therapy. 

That setback means the takeout by Regenxbio is a small, low-key exit for the once hard-charging biotech. 

Dimension grew out of Fidelity Biosciences’ belief gene therapy was ready for the big time. And, having been spawned through an alliance with ReGenX, Dimension quickly pulled in $30 million from Fidelity and OrbiMed, was heralded as having the best AAV technology in the industry, landed a $250 million deal with Bayer, signed up Merck KGaA chief An­nal­isa Jenk­ins as CEO and capped off a busy first year with a Fierce 15 award. An IPO followed late in 2015.

That was about as good as it got for Dimension. 

This year, the biotech’s A-list credentials butted up against negative data. The negative data won. Dimension’s market cap went on to slip to $30 million, attracting the interest of Regenxbio. A bid worth about three times Dimension’s pre-news market cap proved enough to get the fallen gene therapy star to sign on the dotted line. 

Shares in Dimension rose about 160% in premarket trading.