As split looms, Baxter bags autoimmune biotech SuppreMol for $225M

With Baxter's ($BAX) bioscience division getting ready to spin out into an independent operation with an R&D base in Boston, the company has struck a deal to buy out SuppreMol for $225 million in cash. Baxter is planning to continue operating the biotech at its Munich facility, where SuppreMol has been working on new drugs for autoimmune diseases.

The German biotech has been at work on a Phase IIa study for its lead drug, SM101, in idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP, which causes low platelet levels) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, a disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue). SuppreMol's claim to fame rests on its work related to the modulation of Fc receptor signaling pathways.

Baxter's decision to split the company last year set the stage for the debut of a $6 billion biotech with a major stake in hemophilia drugs. But its bioscience division, to be called Baxalta, has designs on a bigger portfolio, with recent partnerships focused on hematology and oncology. In preparation for their debut, Baxter's inked a $900 million pact with Boston's Merrimack ($MACK).

Ludwig Hantson

Baxter grabbed a lease on 200,000 square feet of prime biotech space in Cambridge, MA's Kendall Square last fall, planning to move in 400 staffers from California and Europe into the site.

''SuppreMol's portfolio of novel investigational treatments complements and builds upon our leading and differentiated immunology portfolio, offering the opportunity to expand into new areas with significant market potential and unmet medical needs in autoimmune diseases,'' said Ludwig Hantson, president of Baxter BioScience and the man tapped to lead the spinout.

- here's the release