SOURCE: Serenus Biotherapeutics

Serenus Biotherapeutics

March 03, 2015 07:15 ET

Serenus Biotherapeutics Enters Equity Purchase and Acquisition Agreement With Ireland-Based Global Life Sciences Company

Malin Corporation plc to Invest up to $43 Million for up to a 76 Percent Stake in Specialty Pharmaceutical Focused on Africa

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA--(Marketwired - Mar 3, 2015) - Serenus Biotherapeutics, Inc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company bridging the divide between the world's leading pharmaceutical markets and the growing demand for access to innovative therapies in the emerging nations of Africa, today announced it had secured investment of up to $43 million from Malin Corporation plc, an Ireland-based global life sciences company focused on healthcare.

Under the terms of the agreement, Malin will purchase a 41 percent stake in Serenus for $18 million. Upon the completion of certain agreed upon strategic and operational milestones, Malin will have the right to invest up to an additional $25 million and raise its stake in Serenus to up to 76 percent of the company on a fully diluted basis. Concurrent with Malin's investment, the board of Serenus will assess opportunities to implement an Irish holding structure and to position Ireland as a hub for future in-licensing and commercialization activities.

Serenus will use the proceeds to fund its operational development, secure commercialization arrangements with key partners for therapeutics, and build out its late-stage clinical development and comprehensive supply chain network across its initial target markets.

"Africans have an appetite for newer technologies to improve health. Serenus intends to fill this need by being the bridge between the continent's unmet medical needs and the opportunity for global companies to enter a largely untapped and fertile commercial market," says Dr. Menghis Bairu, founder, CEO and President of Serenus. "This transaction not only provides us with capital to accelerate the realization of our vision for the company, but also with talent and insight from accomplished global biopharmaceutical veterans and access to novel products through their extensive industry relationships to help us build a company with a lasting impact on the health of people in Africa."

In conjunction with the financing, Serenus named G. Kelly Martin, director of Malin and former CEO of Elan Corporation, Serenus' chairman of the board. The company also named John Given, Chairman of Malin and former Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Elan Corporation, a member of the Serenus board.

Africa is undergoing a major shift in its healthcare burden as economic growth, a rising middle class, and urbanization are fueling an increase in the incidence of chronic diseases and creating demand for novel medications. The continent is expected to experience the largest increase in death rates from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease, and diabetes during the next decade. At the same time, pharmaceutical spending is growing at a compounded annual rate of 10.6 percent and is expected to reach $45 billion by 2016, according to the healthcare information market research firm IMS Health. 

"While the business case for entering the African market is clear, recent health crises have highlighted the need for Africans to access newer medications and health technologies sooner," says Dr. Bairu. "This is a need Serenus Biotherapeutics intends to address."

Kelly Martin, Director of Malin says while many companies appreciate the opportunities in the emerging markets of Africa, they often lack the expertise or networks needed to address the complexity of doing business in the region. "The management team assembled by Serenus brings together expertise in pharmaceutical distribution in Africa and in the region's commercial and regulatory practices," he says. "That makes Serenus the partner of choice for biopharmaceutical companies interested in expanding access to their products in Africa."

About Serenus Biotherapeutics
Serenus Biotherapeutics is a privately held specialty biopharmaceutical company that specializes in late-stage drug development, in-licensing, registering, and commercializing therapies approved in the United States, Europe, and Japan to address unmet medical needs with high regional prevalence in the African market. For more information, please visit www.serenusbio.com

About Malin
Malin Corporation plc is a newly established Ireland-based global life sciences company. Its purpose is to create shareholder value through the selective long-term application of capital and strategic and operational expertise to private, pre-IPO, pre-trade sale operating businesses in dynamic and fast growing segments of the life sciences industry.

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