Allozyne, Poniard to merge

Big news today in Seattle’s biotech industry. Seattle biotechnology upstart Allozyne has entered into a merger agreement with San Francisco’s Poniard Pharmaceuticals, the companies announced today. As part of the deal, the combined company plans to focus efforts on Allozyne’s emerging autoimmune products.

Allozyne’ shareholders — including MPM Capital, Arch Venture Partners and OVP Venture Partners – will own 65 percent of the company if the deal is completed. The Seattle startup, incubated at the Accelerator Corp. in Seattle, has raised $43 million to date.

Meenu Chhabra, President and CEO of Allozyne, will become President and CEO of the combined company.

Allozyne’s lead drug candidate, dubbed AZ01, could replace existing weekly or twice-weekly interferon treatments for Multiple Sclerosis with monthly doses.

“By merging with Poniard, we believe we can access the public capital markets to accelerate our strategic plan,” said Chhabra in a statement.

Added Poniard CEO Ronald Martell:

“A merger with Allozyne represents a new strategic direction for Poniard’s shareholders, the risks of which, we believe, are mitigated and upside driven by a promising clinical asset, a pipeline of novel protein therapeutics, a proprietary biologic therapeutic platform offering significant partnership opportunities, and the potential of picoplatin.”

The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies.