Amarantus Bioscience Holdings, Inc., and Avant Diagnostics recently announced they have entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) to merge Amarantus Diagnostics, an Amarantus-owned subsidiary, into Avant Diagnostics. The merger is being undertaken to advance the commercial development of diagnostic assets in the fields of oncology and neurology, including those specifically designed to detect multiple sclerosis.
Upon completing final merger agreements, Avant will issue Amarantus Bioscience 80 million shares of its common stock, representing 45 percent of Avant’s post-merger common stock, as well as 10 million in extra shares of common stock upon the attainment of specific sales targets.
Amarantus has the right to appoint two people to Avant’s Board of Directors, and will aid Avant in strengthening the development and commercialization of the newly merged company’s products portfolio. The transaction is expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2016.
Among the diagnostic tools that Avant aims to bring to the market are: the Amarantus Diagnostics’ LymPro Test, a neuroimmunology-based flow cytometry assay for Alzheimer’s disease, the Avant Diagnostics’ OvaDx, a test to screen and diagnose ovarian cancer, and the Amarantus Diagnostics’ MSPrecise, a proprietary next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) assay designed to improve the accuracy and speed by which patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) are identified.
MSPrecise is a novel method of measuring changes in adaptive human immunity, and may also be able to discern individuals whose disease is more progressive and requires more aggressive treatment. The tool also aims to improve the high rate of misdiagnoses, and to be a key driver for the development of more effective therapeutic approaches that will improve outcomes for patients and reduce their healthcare costs.
“After exploring numerous avenues for implementing Avant’s OvaDx® development and commercialization strategy, it is clear that combining Avant’s and Amarantus’ diagnostic assets and core competencies forms a platform that provides maximum value to our collective shareholders,” said Gregg Linn, president and CEO of Avant. “The collective diagnostic assets will create a truly unique opportunity to implement our respective missions of saving and enhancing lives through early detection of disease in oncology and neurology. The combined companies will enjoy additional benefits by creating a compelling platform to showcase the power diagnostics have to reduce costs and improve outcomes in the healthcare system.”
“We are extremely pleased to have found the appropriate partner with whom to merge our diagnostics business unit,” said Gerald E. Commissiong, president and CEO of Amarantus. “We believe that combining these state-of-the-art technologies with a deep understanding of chronic disease rooted in immunology will produce a world-class diversified immuno-oncology and neuroimmunology focused diagnostics company able to deliver actionable information to physicians seeking to provide the most tailored treatment options for patients, while also assisting the research community in developing new medicines for these devastating disorders.”