Welsh CRO Simbec-Orion has agreed to run two late-stage trials, deals the company says affirm the strategy behind its 2014 merger.
The company signed a deal with the U.K.'s ImmuPharma to conduct an international Phase III study of Lupuzor, a treatment for lupus that picked up the FDA's fast-track designation last year. Under the agreement, Simbec-Orion has agreed to reinvest an undisclosed but "significant" portion of its service fees in ImmuPharma, buying up about 900,000 shares of the drugmaker over the duration of the study.
Separately, the CRO is working with France's OSE Pharma on a Phase III study of the company's treatment for a form of non-small cell lung cancer. The drug, Tedopi, is targeted for NSCLC patients who express the HLA-A2 receptor, and the pair are on track to begin enrolling a pivotal study in the second half of this year. Much like the ImmuPharma deal, Simbec-Orion is accepting an undisclosed amount in stock warrants as a part of its fees, a structure the companies say will better align their interests.
|Simbec-Orion CEO Ronald Openshaw|
"It is a key part of our strategy to use the deep knowhow in our therapeutic areas of expertise and to make strategic investments in our clients thereby building long-term partnerships," Simbec-Orion CEO Ronald Openshaw said in a statement.
The CRO came to be last year when the early-stage-focused Simbec Research paid about $21 million for Orion Clinical Services, creating a combined entity with Phase I-IV capabilities, 250 employees around the world and nearly $43 million in annual revenue, the companies said. The merger came just months after Simbec struck out on its own, using an investment from the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund to acquire itself from Canada's Altasciences Group.