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23 June, 2022 - 17:56 By Tony Quested

F-star agrees $161m cash sale to Hong Kong giant’s subsidiary

Cambridge life science company F-star Therapeutics has agreed to sell the business for $161 million cash to invoX Pharma, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Sino Biopharm. 

F-star will continue to grow from Cambridge, where it is based at Babraham Research Campus, and from Cambridge Massachusetts in the US. 

F-star CEO Eliot Forster, who will leave the company within six months after the deal closes later this year, says the transaction underpins the company’s long-term future. F-star’s NASDAQ share price soared on the news today.

Forster said: “This transaction enables greater and longer-term opportunities to develop the F-star platform and accelerate delivery of our novel medicines as we work together towards a future free from cancer and other serious diseases.

“We believe our tetravalent bispecifics offer the best approach to tackle hard-to-treat cancers and other serious diseases with the ambition to deliver longer and improved lives for patients. 

“Today’s announcement is good news for F-star, for our shareholders and, of course, for patients. I’d like to thank the fantastic team at F-star as well as our partners for all their hard work, support and dedication and I’m delighted to share this exciting development.”

F-star’s unique next-generation tetravalent (2+2) bispecific antibody platform complements Sino Biopharm’s existing capabilities and reinforces its global oncology pipeline.

The deal demonstrates the strength of F-star’s technology and provides backing from a top 40 global pharmaceutical company to accelerate growth and unlock potential.

invoX will acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of F-star common stock for $7.12 per share. The deal has been unanimously approved by the invoX and F-star boards and is expected to close in the second half of 2022.

invoX, established in 2021 in the UK, is Sino Biopharm’s international expansion platform, focusing on R & D and business development activities outside of China, with a core focus on oncology and respiratory therapeutics. 

Ben Toogood, CEO of invoX said: “The proposed acquisition is aligned with invoX’s strategy to become a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company with an advancing pipeline of innovative products addressing unmet healthcare needs, worldwide. 

“We are excited to welcome F-star employees and look forward to working with them as we invest in the company to progress and grow its clinical pipeline to realise the full potential of the platform.”

PJT Partners is acting as financial adviser to invoX and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC as financial adviser to F-star. Shearman & Sterling LLP is serving as legal counsel to invoX and Sino Biopharm and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. as legal counsel to F-star.

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