Avalanche and Annapurna Announce Proposed Merger

Avalanche Biotechnologies, Inc. and Annapurna Therapeutics SAS have entered into a definitive agreement providing for the acquisition of all outstanding shares of Annapurna by Avalanche.

Upon completion of the proposed acquisition, the combined company’s pipeline will consist of Avalanche’s existing ophthalmic programs and four new gene therapy based programs, which are focused on Alpha1-antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency, cardiomyopathy associated with Friedreich’s ataxia, HAE and severe allergies. The combined company will be headquartered in Menlo Park, California.

Paul B. Cleveland, president and CEO of Avalanche, will serve as the CEO of the combined company, and Amber Salzman, Ph.D., president and CEO of Annapurna, will become president and chief operating officer of the combined company. Both will serve on the combined company’s board of directors.

“This transaction creates the opportunity to build a leading gene therapy company with an extensive pipeline and significant scientific, financial and human resources,” said Mr. Cleveland.  “I have tremendous respect for Annapurna’s commitment to high level research and development and we are looking forward to working together to drive our combined current programs forward. At the same time, we are seeking to expand our pipeline further through additional licenses and acquisitions that complement our expertise in vector development and optimization platforms, process development and manufacturing.”

“Our businesses are highly complementary, and this transaction enables us to combine the best assets of both companies as we drive toward the development of new gene therapies in multiple disease areas, including rare diseases,” said Dr. Salzman. “This transaction provides the capabilities required to bring promising treatments to clinical practice.”

ANN-002 is the Annapurna gene therapy product candidate designed for the treatment of patients with HAE. The Annapurna management believes that the one-time ANN-002 gene therapy product, for which the company is planning its clinical trials, can offer meaningful long-term clinical benefit to HAE patients.
(Source: Avalanche and Annapurna)