Bidding war erupts over Dimension’s gene therapy pipeline as Ultragenyx counters Regenxbio deal

Emil Kakkis, Ultragenyx

A bidding war has suddenly erupted over one of the most damaged biotechs in gene therapy R&D.

Just weeks after Regenxbio lined up the acquisition of Dimension Therapeutics $DMTX for $86 million in stock, Ultragenyx $RARE has come along with an offer of $5.50 a share, significantly more than what Regenxbio $RGNX had offered ($3.41) and a 358% premium over what Dimension’s shares were trading for ahead of the earlier buyout announcement.

Ultragenyx is offering $138 million for Dimension now, which drove the target biotech’s share price up 10% in pre-market trading.

While Dimension had been crippled by a setback on its lead program for hemophilia B, Ultragenyx like Regenxbio sees some real value in the other gene therapies in the biotech’s pipeline.

Ultragenyx is also offering cash. Said Ultragenyx CEO Emil Kakkis:

Our all-cash offer provides meaningfully greater value and certainty to Dimension shareholders compared to the proposed all-stock acquisition by REGENXBIO. We believe Ultragenyx and its product candidates are highly complementary to Dimension’s and present no competitive overlap, giving us confidence that we could combine our two companies quickly and seamlessly.

Kakkis has been serving as a scientific adviser to Dimension, giving him a unique perspective over what the company has to offer. Regenxbio, meanwhile, provided Dimension with the vector tech it is using, giving it considerable insight into its potential as well.

Dimension’s lead therapy — DTX-101 — is out of the picture after a critical flop. Ultragenxy and Regenxbio are competing over two early-stage gene therapy drugs.  DTX301 is designed to treat ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC), using a vector to deliver the OTC gene to the liver. And the preclinical DTX401 delivers a copy of the glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) gene to liver cells for glycogen storage disease type Ia.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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