JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 15, 2018/PRNewswire/ — TapImmune Inc. today announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Marker Therapeutics, Inc. (“Marker”), a privately-held clinical-stage developer of a transformative, non-genetically engineered, multi-antigen T cell therapy platform. The proposed transaction will be a merger-of-equals under which the stockholders of TapImmune and Marker will each own approximately 50% of the combined company, prior to any issuances of additional shares in a contemplated financing. The proposed merger remains subject to certain conditions, including that financing and the approval of TapImmune stockholders.
Peter Hoang, President and CEO of TapImmune, stated, “I believe that the new therapies we are acquiring with Marker in this transaction represent the next major leap forward in cell therapy for cancer. The merger adds to our product pipeline a synergistic portfolio of highly-differentiated T cell therapies that has demonstrated potentially groundbreaking results in early clinical trials in lymphoma, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and multiple myeloma.”
“Executing this strategic merger with Marker Therapeutics will be fundamentally transformational for TapImmune, enriching our strong immuno-oncology pipeline with a revolutionary multi-antigen targeted cell therapy platform. We believe this technology will be a game-changer for the cell therapy industry, potentially overcoming the well-known limitations of today’s CAR-T and TCR approaches,” concluded Mr. Hoang. “Combined with the four ongoing Phase 2 clinical trials in the TapImmune platform, I believe we are creating a best-in-class cancer immunotherapy platform. With Marker’s peptide-based cell therapy platform, we believe that there is an excellent fit with TapImmune’s extensive experience and expertise in the research, development, manufacturing and manipulation of peptide-based immunotherapies. Furthermore, the integration of the two companies provides us with a compelling opportunity to create a unique and highly differentiated company in the immuno-oncology field.”
John Wilson, CEO of Marker, said, “I feel very fortunate to have been entrusted with one of the premier programs of Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, and to integrate it with TapImmune to provide this exceptional technology with a strong commercial pathway. We have great respect for the work that the TapImmune team has done within the immuno-oncology field and believe integrating our respective peptide-based technologies will drive significant advances in the field. By combining TapImmune’s experience and expertise in multi-epitope peptide-based approaches to T cell activation with Marker’s multi-targeted T cell therapy, while simultaneously leveraging the know-how and facilities of Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, we intend to chart a groundbreaking course toward more effective, less complex, non-toxic and cost-effective cancer treatments. Our respective development teams are eager to join forces and drive a unique product pipeline to patients in need. We believe the merger will accelerate clinical development, particularly for the cell therapy platform, which has generated encouraging patient responses in our clinical trials to date. I look forward to taking a position on the post-merger Board of Directors where I can leverage my T cell manufacturing expertise and help the Company implement a highly practical and economical manufacturing platform. By avoiding the need for genetic engineering, the manufacturing process can be greatly simplified, providing us with a great opportunity to successfully address the cost issues that currently plague the field.”
In conjunction with the transaction, TapImmune intends to finalize a strategic alliance with Baylor College of Medicine which will include sponsored research, manufacturing support, and advancing early stage clinical trials at the institution.