After Novartis walks on last STING drug, Chinook spits out orphan Aduro assets
In August, Chinook merged with the struggling Aduro to take on the company’s pipeline programs for kidney disease research. Monday, Chinook announced that Aduro will take on a new name: Sairopa.
The company announced a partial sale to Van Herk Investments, a European life science investor, to create a new company called Sairopa that will focus on the R&D of non-renal monoclonal antibodies that were generated through Aduro’s B-Select platform. As a part of the deal, Chinook will relinquish control of all the assets it acquired from Aduro.
“These are not core assets to Chinook going forward, and so this is a nice way to give them life on their own,” CEO Eric Dobmeier said.
The move helps Dobmeier streamline things, and operate as efficiently as possible, he said. The company is focused on kidney research, and by taking these antibody assets and putting them under a new umbrella, Chinook will receive 40% equity stake but allow the Sairopa scientists to focus their efforts there.
“It’s a great way for us to be able to get these assets an opportunity to succeed, but also not get distracted and be able to focus on kidney disease,” Dobmeier said in a call Monday. “We think it’s a win-win.”
The spinoff comes after a brutal stretch for Aduro. Early in 2019, CEO Stephen Isaacs was forced to severely restructure and downsize the staff, cutting 37% of the workforce and watched the biotech’s stocks dwindle.
Aduro candidates in the Stimulator of Interferon Genes (STING) and A Proliferation Inducing Ligand (APRIL) pathways have been investigated in cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. However, the company had a list of setbacks, which included Novartis dumping its collaboration with Aduro on STING in 2019.
Originally, there were two separate STING programs: intratumoral STING and systemic STING. Novartis had put the intratumoral program on hold last year but continued R&D on the systemic program. Monday, Novartis announced that they would no longer be collaborating on this program either.
“Frankly, from our point of view, (that) streamlines things,” Dobmeier said. “It’s unfortunate for the program, but it will be made easier to focus going forward on kidney disease.”
And in late 2018, J&J backed out of its listeria tech for lung and prostate cancer.
Chinook will own about 40% of Sairopa and have one seat on the company’s board of directors, according to the release. Chinook will also assume Aduro’s collaboration agreements with Eli Lilly and Merck, and briefly assumed the agreement with Novartis before the end of the collaboration was announced.
As a part of Chinook’s October 2020 merger with Aduro, stockholders received one CVR for each outstanding share.