In Life Science news, Akarna Therapeutics Ltd. was acquired by Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN) for an upfront cash payment of $50 million. JAG Shaw Baker acted on behalf of New Science Ventures LLC, a New York venture capital fund that invests in novel scientific approaches. New Science Ventures was one of the selling shareholders alongside Third Point Ventures and Forbion Capital Partners.
Akarna Therapeutics is a UK company with offices in Cambridge, UK and San Diego, California. Akarna Therapeutic’s lead product candidate (AKN-083) is considered an effective and novel treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and other liver diseases.
An M&A Transaction Advancing The Teatment Of NASH
NASH is a progressive form of fatty-liver disease that’s directly associated with diabetes and obesity. Excessive accumulation of fat in the liver induces chronic inflammation, which causes progressive fibrosis, cirrhosis and eventually end-stage liver disease. The prevalence of NASH is increasing worldwide as diabetes and obesity reach epidemic proportions yet there are currently no approved therapies. It’s estimated that 5% of the US population has NASH with about eight million patients worldwide with advanced disease.
NASH is projected to become the leading indication for liver transplant by 2020.
According to Susanna Stanfield, Partner – Life Sciences, JAG Shaw Baker, this sale is a superb example of an early stage UK company providing an exit return in the life sciences venture capital sector.
“This transaction was truly a cross border M&A deal,” said Stanfield, “With both our US and UK qualified lawyers, we were able to advise and represent our client through the entire process.”
Allergan plc is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and represents the new industry pharma model – Growth Pharma. Allergan focuses on developing, manufacturing and commercializing branded pharmaceuticals, devices and biologic products for patients around the world.