Aerpio Pharmaceuticals (ARPO) and Aadi Bioscience Enter into a Definitive Merger Agreement

May 17, 2021 7:01 AM EDT

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Aerpio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Aerpio”) (Nasdaq: ARPO), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing compounds that activate Tie2, and Aadi Bioscience, Inc. (“Aadi”), a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focusing on precision therapies for genetically-defined cancers with alterations in mTOR pathway genes, announced their entry into a definitive merger agreement. Following the proposed merger, Aerpio will change its name to “Aadi Bioscience, Inc.” and the combined public company will focus on advancing Aadi’s lead product candidate, FYARROTM (sirolimus albumin-bound nanoparticles for injectable suspension; nab-sirolimus; ABI-009).

In support of the merger, Aerpio has entered into subscription agreements to raise $155 million in a Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE) financing led by Acuta Capital Partners and KVP Capital and including Avoro Capital Advisors; Avoro Ventures; Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners; BVF Partners, L.P.; Vivo Capital; Alta Bioequities, L.P.; Rock Springs Capital; RTW Investments, LP; Acorn Bioventures; and Serrado Capital LLC as well as other undisclosed institutional investors.

The PIPE financing is expected to be consummated concurrently with the closing of the merger. Proceeds from the PIPE financing are intended to be used for commercialization of FYARRO in advanced malignant PEComa and a planned tumor-agnostic registrational trial in solid tumors harboring inactivating alterations in the mTOR pathway genes TSC1 and TSC2 expected to be initiated by the end of 2021. Aadi’s first indication, advanced malignant PEComa, is an ultra-rare sarcoma enriched in TSC1 and TSC2 alterations. Aadi has received Orphan designation, Fast Track designation and Breakthrough Therapy designation from the FDA for FYARRO for the treatment of patients with advanced malignant PEComa. Together with the cash expected from both companies at closing, the net proceeds of the PIPE financing are expected to fund the company into 2024, enabling potential approval and commercial launch in PEComa as well as completion of a registrational trial in tumors harboring TSC1 or TSC2 inactivating alterations.

Caley Castelein, a board member of Aerpio and the proposed chairman of the combined company stated, “Aerpio’s board of directors diligently undertook a comprehensive strategic review and has concluded that the proposed transaction with Aadi is in the best interest of our shareholders. We believe Aadi’s late-stage development program may offer significant medical benefit to PEComa patients and important potential for patients with tumors harboring TSC1 or TSC2 inactivating alterations.”

Dr. Neil Desai, founder and chief executive officer of Aadi, added, “FYARRO met its safety and efficacy endpoints in our study in patients with advanced malignant PEComa2 and this finding supports our approach of targeting mTOR pathway altered cancers with FYARRO. We are excited about the next chapter of growth for Aadi, thankful for the support of our investors, and are energized to continue to develop important new treatment options for our patients.”

Anupam Dalal, chief investment officer of Acuta Capital Partners stated, “Together with a group of renowned institutional investors, we are excited to partner with Aadi as it advances FYARRO and strives to unlock the potential of mTOR as a therapeutic target.”

Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will be led by Aadi’s chief executive officer, Neil Desai, and headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Aadi’s board members Neil Desai and Richard Maroun; Aadi’s board observer Karin Hehenberger; and current Aerpio board members Anupam Dalal and Caley Castelein will be members of the board of directors of the combined company. In addition, Behzad Aghazadeh, managing partner of Avoro Capital Advisors and Avoro Ventures, will also join the board of the combined company upon the closing of the transaction.

About the Proposed Transaction

Under the terms of the merger agreement, shareholders of Aadi will receive shares of newly issued Aerpio common stock. On a pro forma basis, shareholders of Aadi will own approximately 66.8% and shareholders of Aerpio will own approximately 33.2% of the combined company upon the closing of the merger, prior to the additional PIPE financing transaction. Following the closing of the concurrent PIPE financing, Aerpio shareholders will own approximately 14.7% of the combined company. The actual allocation is subject to adjustment based on Aerpio’s cash balance at the time of closing.

The terms of the merger agreement contemplate that a non-transferable contingent value right (a “CVR”) will be distributed to Aerpio shareholders as of immediately prior to the effective time of the merger, entitling CVR holders to receive net proceeds received by Aerpio, if any, associated with Aerpio’s legacy assets. The terms and conditions of the CVRs will be pursuant to a CVR Agreement Aerpio will enter into prior to the closing of the merger (the “CVR Agreement”).

The merger agreement has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, subject to approval by Aerpio’s shareholders, the completion of the PIPE financing, and customary closing conditions. The PIPE financing is expected to close concurrently with, and is conditioned upon, the closing of the merger.

Additional information about the transaction will be provided in a Current Report on Form 8-K that will be filed by Aerpio with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and will be available at

Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc. is acting as financial advisor to Aerpio for the transaction and Goodwin Procter LLP is serving as its legal counsel. Perella Weinberg Partners LP and Piper Sandler & Co. are acting as financial advisors to Aadi for the transaction and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, P.C. is serving as legal counsel to Aadi. Jefferies LLC; Cowen and Company, LLC; and Piper Sandler & Co. are acting as placement agents for the PIPE financing.

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