Updated: Synageva goes public in M&A deal with troubled Trimeris

A year after its proposed $81 million acquisition deal with a Korean company fell through, Durham, NC-based Trimeris ($TRMS) has struck an all-stock merger pact with Synageva, a Lexington, MA-based biotech which specializes in developing drugs for rare diseases. Under the pact Synageva's management stays in control of the merged operation--gaining Trimeris's Fuzeon, a marketed HIV drug partnered with Roche that has delivered disappointing earnings in the past--and managing to snag a public listing at a time IPOs have proven hard for biotechs to pull off.

"Since launching Synageva in 2008, we have made tremendous progress in building a promising pipeline of product candidates targeted at rare and devastating diseases," says CEO Sanj K. Patel. "This transaction gives us access to significant financial resources while maintaining our focus on the goal of bringing our clinical development programs to commercialization as soon as possible." Synageva's lead program is SBC-102, an enzyme replacement therapy for LAL Deficiency.

Under the deal, Trimeris will issue shares to Synageva and its shareholders will wind up with 25 percent of the combined company. Dow Jones reports that Trimeris has a market value of slightly more than $63 million. Trimeris's shares jumped 12 percent on the news.

The Durham biotech has traveled a rocky road over the past five years, enduring severe cutbacks and struggling to work out an exit strategy. Its buyout deal with Arigene fell through after the Korean company couldn't come up with the cash to complete the purchase. But the derailed pact reportedly left Trimeris with a $12 million payout.

- here's the Synageva/Trimeris release
- here's the Dow Jones report