Mereo BioPharma Group Ltd, a London, UK-based speciality biopharmaceutical company, raised $119m (c. £76.5m) in funding.
Backers included UK institutional investors Woodford Investment Management and Invesco Perpetual.
In conjunction with the funding, the company acquired a portfolio of three innovative clinical-stage development programs from Novartis Pharmaceuticals including:
– BPS-804 in the orphan disease Osteogenesis Imperfecta or Brittle Bone Syndrome is a fully human monoclonal antibody which is being developed to improve bone density (and thereby reduce fractures) in osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), commonly known as brittle bone syndrome.
– BCT-197 in acute exacerbations of COPD is an orally active p38 MAP kinase inhibitor being developed as first-line acute therapy alongside existing treatment and supportive care for acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD).
– BGS-649 in hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism is a novel orally active aromatase inhibitor being developed as a first-line therapy for the treatment of obese men with hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (HH), with the aim of normalising testosterone levels.
Led by CEO Dr Denise Scots-Knight (Pollard-Knight), Chairman Dr Peter Fellner, CMO Dr. Alastair MacKinnon, CFO/COO Richard Bungay, Charles Sermon, and Head of Corporate Development, John Richard, Mereo aims to acquire and develop innovative medicines by entering into partnering deals or, for selected opportunities, commercializing products itself.
The company is building a pipeline of innovative medicines, particularly focused in rare and specialist disease areas, through the acquisition of validated, mid-stage development programs from large biopharmaceutical companies.
Novartis, through the shares issued in consideration for the acquisition of products, will also hold an equity stake in Mereo.