Sorrento (SRNE) is not a company to rest on its laurels, particularly on the acquisition front. There have been several additions to the biotechs ever-expanding pipeline over the past few months, and April is proving no different.
Earlier this week, Sorrento announced it is acquiring late-stage oncology company ACEA Therapeutics, in an all-stock deal worth $38 million. ACEA equity holders could also be eligible for milestone payments up to $450 million and 5-10% royalties from annual net sales. The merger is anticipated to close sometime in the second quarter.
So, what does ACEA bring to the table? The companys principal assets include AC0058, a next generation BTK inhibitor, currently in a U.S. Phase 1b trial for Lupus patients, and pre-clinical-stage candidate AC0939, a next generation FLT-3 inhibitor. ACEA also comes with a substantial proprietary library of small molecules (more than 1,000,000 compounds). These could potentially be applied to several human disease indications, such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), B cell lymphomas, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and viral infections.
However, for Dawson James analyst Jason Kolbert, the gem in the portfolio is late clinical-stage drug Abivertinib, an oral, next-gen, dual EGFR mutant and BTK inhibitor (BTKi).
Abivertinib has the potential to improve outcomes in resistant prostate cancer, systemic lupus erythematosus, and various B cell lymphomas in addition to NSCLC, an indication for which a registrational/Phase 3 trial has been completed. It is currently being studied as a Phase 2 treatment for COVID-19-induced respiratory compromise in the US and Brazil, the analyst noted.