Amicus Therapeutics Inc has agreed to sell its gene therapy unit to ARYA Sciences Corp IV, a blank check company backed by Perceptive Advisors. At the closing of this deal, the newly combined company, which will operate as ARYA IV. is expected to trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “SPES.”
PHILADELPHIA & NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: FOLD) (“Amicus”) today announced its intent to launch a next-generation genetic medicine company, Caritas Therapeutics, Inc., (“Caritas”) through a definitive business combination agreement pursuant to which the Amicus gene therapy business will be acquired by ARYA Sciences Acquisition Corp IV (Nasdaq: ARYD) (“ARYA IV”), a special purpose acquisition company or SPAC, sponsored by Perceptive Advisors. The transaction will result in two independent publicly traded companies with attractive stand-alone investment profiles. Amicus will become the largest shareholder in Caritas with a ~36% ownership stake (assuming no redemptions by ARYA’s shareholders) and retain co-development and commercialization rights to the Fabry and Pompe gene therapy programs as well as negotiation rights on select future muscular dystrophy programs.
Upon consummation of the business combination, current Amicus Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John F. Crowley will lead Caritas as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and will become the Chairman Emeritus and Chief Strategic Advisor for Amicus. Current Amicus President and Chief Operating Officer Bradley Campbell will be named as Chief Executive Officer of Amicus.
“This is a big, bold vision and a massive step forward for next generation biotechnologies for people worldwide living with some of the most devastating rare diseases. In a single stroke with the formation and funding of Caritas we will create what will be one of the world’s preeminent next-generation genetic medicines companies. We strongly believe that separating our business into two highly focused, stand-alone companies is the best way to unlock significant value for Amicus shareholders and to advance our medicines and technologies to people living with rare diseases around the world,” stated John F. Crowley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Amicus. “This transaction will serve patients and shareholders well by accelerating funding for our next generation gene therapy pipeline, and strengthening the financial profiles of both companies. We are immensely excited for what the future of science and biotechnology holds as we accelerate and recommit to our mission.”
“This transaction will transform Amicus into a premier rare disease global commercialization and late stage product development company that we believe will benefit all of our stakeholders,” said Bradley Campbell, President and Chief Operating Officer of Amicus. “The separation strengthens the financial profile of Amicus and accelerates our path to profitability, while preserving significant equity ownership in the gene therapy pipeline and commercial rights to the innovative and important Fabry and Pompe gene therapy programs. We will be laser focused on maintaining the growth of Galafold and executing on the anticipated global launch of AT-GAA, as we build Amicus into a leading global rare disease biotechnology company and bring our medicines to as many patients as quickly as possible.”
Following the transaction, Amicus will remain a global, patient-dedicated biotechnology company developing and delivering novel high-quality medicines for people living with rare diseases. Amicus’ focus will be to grow its leadership position across Amicus’ two lead indications of Fabry disease and Pompe disease. In addition, it is expected the transaction will strengthen the Amicus financial outlook and enable it to achieve profitability in 2023.1
Upon completion of the transaction, Amicus will become the largest shareholder in Caritas and retain co-development and commercialization rights to the Fabry and Pompe gene therapy programs, as well as negotiation rights on future muscular dystrophy programs.
Amicus plans to continue investing in the global commercialization of Galafold for Fabry disease through geographic and label expansion, as well as support for diagnostic initiatives. In Pompe disease, Amicus will focus on securing global approvals, executing the anticipated global launch of AT-GAA, and providing access for patients as quickly as possible. Amicus continues to believe that AT-GAA has the potential upon approval to become the next standard of care for all people living with Pompe disease.
Amicus also announced today that a syndicate of leading healthcare biotechnology investors, including Redmile Group, Avoro Capital Advisors, Perceptive Advisors, Invus, Sphera Healthcare, and Janus Henderson Investors have agreed to a private investment in Amicus of approximately $200 million. Amicus expects to use the net proceeds to further fund initiatives in the global commercialization of Galafold and the anticipated global launch of AT-GAA and, in connection with the business combination, to invest $50 million in cash in Caritas in exchange for additional equity.
1 Based on projections of Amicus non-GAAP Net Income under current operating plans, which includes successful AT-GAA regulatory approvals and continued Galafold growth. We define non-GAAP Net Income as GAAP Net Income excluding the after tax impact of share-based compensation expense, changes in fair value of contingent consideration and depreciation.
Caritas’ focus as a clinical stage, rare disease discovery and development next-generation genetic medicines company
The mission of Caritas, the Latin word for compassion, will be to transform the lives of children and adults living with rare genetic diseases by harnessing the power of next-generation genetic medicine and gene therapy technologies through advanced protein engineering and innovative gene therapy vector technologies. Through its 60+ bench scientists and experienced development and leadership teams, Caritas will develop and advance a series of novel platform technologies to address the key challenges to the safe and efficient gene transfer necessary for next-generation gene therapies. These include proprietary technologies designed to address delivery, safety, durability, and manufacturability of gene therapies. The gene therapy pipeline is founded on deep expertise and platform technologies in protein engineering and rare disease biology, the broad research collaboration with the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) for best-in-class gene therapies, and a new co-development collaboration with Amicus.
The pipeline is led by two Batten disease programs with clinical proof of concept in CLN6 and CLN3, six active preclinical programs, including Fabry disease, Pompe disease, and CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder (CDD), as well as multiple discovery programs. Caritas will have exclusive, global rights to gene therapy programs for nearly 50 rare genetic diseases through its broad collaboration with Dr. Jim Wilson and the Penn team, including a majority of next-generation lysosomal disease programs as well as 11 more prevalent rare diseases. Among these are Angelman Syndrome, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Rett Syndrome, Myotonic Dystrophy and select other muscular dystrophies. Dr. Jim Wilson will become a senior scientific and strategic advisor to Caritas.
Amicus management expects that, as a new, independent entity with approximately 115 employees, Caritas will be better positioned to pursue its strategic priorities, accelerate its programs and discovery work, as well as adequately fund its manufacturing capabilities. Amicus believes that this transaction will harness those opportunities to the benefit of patients and shareholders.
“When ARYA IV was formed, our objective was to identify a company with the potential to successfully address a significant, unmet need in biomedical science,” said Adam Stone, Chief Investment Officer of Perceptive Advisors and CEO of ARYA IV. “Through Caritas, we are combining with a business we believe has the potential to transform the field of genetic medicine through advanced protein engineering and innovative vector technologies. Over the course of our long-standing relationship with Amicus, we’ve come to believe in the company’s innovative science and experienced leadership team. We are excited to see the next phase of growth for Amicus and Caritas, respectively.”
Caritas Transaction and Timing
Amicus is separating its gene therapy business into a new entity that will be acquired by ARYA IV, a special purpose acquisition company or SPAC. At closing of the transaction, ARYA IV will be named Caritas Therapeutics, Inc. As part of the transaction, Amicus will receive the following:
~36% pro forma ownership in Caritas (depending on the level of redemptions at ARYA IV)
Co-development rights and exclusive global commercialization rights to existing Fabry and Pompe gene therapies including a 50/50 cost and profit share
Right of first negotiation to certain multiple muscular dystrophy programs being developed by Caritas
Amicus expects to incur charges related to the transaction during the reporting periods preceding the separation and does not otherwise expect this to impact Amicus’ financial guidance for 2021.
In connection with the closing of the transaction, in addition to its renaming, ARYA IV will redomicile as a Delaware corporation and its common stock is expected to be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “SPES”, the Latin word for hope.
In addition to the approximately $150 million held in ARYA IV’s trust account, assuming no redemptions are effected, a group of leading global investors has committed to participate in the transaction through a common stock private investment in public equity (PIPE) of approximately $200 million at $10 per share. Investors in the PIPE include Perceptive Advisors, Redmile Group, Bain Capital Life Sciences, Invus, Avoro Capital Advisors, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Deerfield Management Company, Wellington Management and Sphera Healthcare. In connection with the business combination, Amicus will also invest $50 million in cash in Caritas in exchange for additional equity in Caritas.
Together, Caritas is expected to receive proceeds of approximately $400 million at the closing of the transactions, assuming no redemptions are effected. Proceeds of the business combination and the PIPE are expected to be used to advance development of the Caritas gene therapy pipeline, discovery work, growth across its scientific teams and to support general corporate activities (including payment of certain transaction expenses). A condition to closing of the business combination transaction is that these cash proceeds are no less than $300 million in total.
The boards of directors of both Amicus and ARYA IV have approved the proposed transaction. Completion of the transaction, which is expected in the fourth quarter of 2021 or early 2022, is subject to approval of ARYA IV’s shareholders, delivery of the minimum $300 million in cash proceeds, and the satisfaction or waiver of certain other customary closing conditions.
Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as financial and capital markets advisor to Amicus Therapeutics. Jefferies LLC is acting as financial advisor and private placement agent to ARYA IV. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP are acting as legal counsel to Amicus Therapeutics. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal counsel to ARYA IV.
About Amicus Therapeutics
Amicus Therapeutics (Nasdaq: FOLD) is a global, patient-dedicated biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing and delivering novel high-quality medicines for people living with rare diseases. With extraordinary patient focus, Amicus Therapeutics is committed to advancing and expanding a robust pipeline of cutting-edge, first- or best-in-class medicines for rare metabolic diseases. For more information please visit the company’s website at www.amicusrx.com, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.