Mereo BioPharma Group plc (NASDAQ: MREO, AIM: MPH) today announces the completion of a $70 million (¬£56 million) private placement (the ‘Fundraising’) with a number of new and existing U.S based institutional and accredited investors. OrbiMed led the Fundraising with participants including Vivo Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Pontifax Venture Capital, Samsara BioCapital, Commodore Capital, and funds managed by Janus Henderson Investors alongside existing investors Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group and Aspire Capital Fund, LLC.
- Private placement completed raising $70.0 million (¬£56.0 million) before expenses.
- New Ordinary Shares and Convertible Loan Notes issued provide the Company with certainty of receiving the full amount of the proceeds of the private placement at closing.
- 89,144,630 new Ordinary Shares have been placed at the Issue Price to raise $19.4 million (¬£15.5 million) before expenses, utilising share authorities granted on 2 June 2016 and 19 June 2019 and issued on a non-pre-emptive basis.
- Convertible Loan Notes have been issued in an aggregate principal amount $50.6 million (¬£40.5 million) to complete the Fundraising.
- Price per Placing Share of 17.4 pence.
- Investors have received conditional Warrants to subscribe for further Ordinary Shares in an aggregate number equal to 50 per cent of both the new Ordinary Shares purchased by that investor in the Placing and the Ordinary Shares issuable upon conversion of the Convertible Loan Notes purchased by that investor in the Fundraising, with an exercise price of 34.8 pence per Warrant. The Warrants will be capable of being exercised for a period of 3 years after the date on which the Resolutions are passed.
- SVB Leerink acted as the exclusive placement agent to the Company in connection with the Fundraising.
Mereo is also announcing today plans to advance etigilimab (Anti-TIGIT) into a Phase 1b study in Q4 2020 alongside progressing its rare disease product portfolio. This is based on the Company’s existing promising clinical data with etigilimab as well as the increasing interest in TIGIT as an immuno-oncology target. The Company intends to complete a strategic partnership for setrusumab for the treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta (‘OI’) prior to initiation of the pivotal Phase 3 study and to complete the ongoing Phase 2 study of alvelestat for the treatment of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (‘AATD’), with topline data currently expected in 2H 2021.
Dr. Denise Scots-Knight, Chief Executive Officer of Mereo, said, ‘We are delighted to have attracted the support of such a broad range of high-quality institutional investors. We are pleased to also be announcing today that we plan to progress etigilimab into a Phase 1b study and believe etigilimab has the potential to target a significant unmet need in oncology. We look forward to progressing etigilimab, setrusumab and alvelestat further and believe this Fundraising leaves Mereo extremely well placed to progress on our strategy.’
Etigilimab is an antibody against TIGIT (T-cell immunoreceptor with Ig and ITIM domains). TIGIT is a next generation checkpoint receptor shown to block T-cell activation and the body’s natural anti-cancer immune response. Etigilimab is an IgG1 monoclonal antibody which binds to the human TIGIT receptor on immune cells with a goal of improving the activation and effectiveness of T-cell and NK cell anti-tumor activity. Mereo completed a Phase 1a dose escalation clinical trial with etigilimab in patients with advanced solid tumors and enrolled patients in a Phase 1b study in combination with nivolumab in selected tumor types.
23 patients were treated in the Phase 1a dose escalation study with doses up to 20mg/kg Q2W. Tumor types included colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, pancreatic cancer and other tumor types. No dose limiting toxicities were observed. In the Phase 1b combination study, a total of ten patients, nine of whom had progressed on prior anti-PD1/PD-L1 therapies were enrolled at doses of 3, 10, and 20 mg/kg. Eight patients were evaluable for tumor growth assessment, and all of these patients had progressed on PD1/PD-L1 therapies with best responses including two patients with a partial response and stable disease. Patients remained on study for up to 224 days. No dose limiting toxicities (DLTs) were observed and the most common related adverse events included fatigue, rash, and pruritis.