Sofinnova Partners exits Ethical Oncology Science

Sofinnova Partners said Wednesday that it is selling its portfolio company Ethical Oncology Science to Clovis Oncology for $420 million. Based in Milan, Italy, EOS is a biopharmaceutical company that develops drugs that treat cancer.


Paris, France. November 20th, 2013. Sofinnova Partners, an independent venture capital firm based in Paris, France, announced today the sale of portfolio company Ethical Oncology Science (EOS), an emerging biopharmaceutical company based in Milan, Italy, developing novel targeted medicines to treat cancer, to Clovis Oncology for up to $420 million (€310M).
Under the terms of the deal, Clovis is acquiring EOS for an up-front payment of $200 million, which includes $190 million in Clovis common stock (3,713,731 shares) and $10 million in cash. Clovis will pay an additional $65 million in cash upon the initial approval of lucitanib, the drug developed by EOS, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Pursuant to a license agreement that EOS signed with Les Laboratoires Servier in 2012, Clovis is entitled to receive up to €350 million (approximately $470 million) upon the achievement of development and commercial milestones, as well as royalties on sales of lucitanib in the Servier territories. Clovis will also pay the EOS shareholders up to an additional €115 million in cash (approximately $155 million) upon the receipt by Clovis of certain of the milestone payments pursuant to this license agreement.
Sofinnova Partners was a seed investor at EOS’ inception in 2006. It further financed the company over the years, helped bring other international investors Aescap Venture and Principia SGR into the company and remained its majority shareholder until today. The company was formed by Silvano Spinelli, Gabriella Camboni and Ennio Cavalletti, three repeat entrepreneurs that previously were the founders of Novuspharma, a spin off from Hoffmann La Roche that Sofinnova Partners also backed from the start. Novuspharma went public in Italy in 2000 and was then successfully sold to CTI, a Nasdaq listed biotech company.
EOS develops novel targeted therapies that address significant unmet medical needs for cancer patients. It owns the exclusive global (excluding China) development and commercialization rights for lucitanib, an oral, dual-selective inhibitor of the tyrosine kinase activity of fibroblast growth factor receptors 1 and 2 (FGFR 1/2) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors 1-3 (VEGFR1-3). Lucitanib aims to treat FGF-aberrant breast cancer patients as well as other FGF-aberrant or angiogenesis-sensitive tumors, such non small cell lung cancer. A Phase II program has been initiated to further explore lucitanib in multiple indications. Clinical development of lucitanib will be accompanied by development of a diagnostic test designed to identify a selected patient population most likely to benefit. The acquisition by Clovis follows a 2012 sublicensing agreement with Les Laboratoires Servier over the rights in Europe and the rest-of-world markets of lucitanib. Clovis intends to collaborate with Servier on the global clinical development of lucitanib and maintains exclusive rights for lucitanib in the U.S. and Japan.
“Funding repeat entrepreneurs is a key theme for Sofinnova Partners, and Ethical Oncology Science is a perfect example of that strategy. After the sale of Novuspharma, the three founders were keen to start a new adventure and we were delighted to fund them again”, said Antoine Papiernik, Managing Partner at Sofinnova Partners.
“It was natural for us to go to Sofinnova to seed EOS, on the back of our first positive experience. Sofinnova Partners has been a real partner and has helped us build the company until this day”, said Silvano Spinelli, Chairman and CEO of EOS.
“After striking a large partnership with Les Laboratoires Servier in 2012, the sale of the company to Clovis should give lucitanib the best chance to continue its clinical development and be one day available as a new innovative treatment for many cancer patients”, said Gabriella Camboni, MD, founder and Chief Operating Officer of EOS.