Hyperion Set to Acquire Andromeda

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Hyperion Therapeutics (HPTX) is focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat disorders in the areas of orphan diseases.

Recently, Hyperion entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Andromeda Biotech Ltd., a subsidiary of Clal Biotechnology Industries Ltd., for $12.5 million in cash and 312,869 in Hyperion shares (approximate value $7.85 million).

The acquisition of Israel-based Andromeda will add the latter’s lead candidate, DiaPep277, to Hyperion’s portfolio. DiaPep277 is being evaluated in a confirmatory phase III study (DIA-AID 2) as a first-in-class immune intervention therapy for new onset type I diabetes – an orphan indication.

Enrollment of adult patients in this confirmatory phase III study is completed. Results will be out by the first quarter of 2015.

Apart from the announcement of the proposed acquisition, Hyperion also updated its operating expense guidance. For 2014, Hyperion anticipates its adjusted operating expenses to be in the range of $64 million to $78 million, above the earlier stated range (announced in Feb 2014) of $52 million to $64 million.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014. With this acquisition, Hyperion will have 10 more employees on its roll. Following the transaction, Andromeda will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Hyperion.

As a result of this acquisition, the candidate DiaPep277 will expand Hyperion’s pipeline of orphan diseases, with a highly differentiated candidate which is about to be marketed soon. We expect investor focus to remain on phase III results.

Hyperioncurrently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors looking for better-ranked stocks in the biopharma sector may consider companies like Regeneron (REGN), Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN) and Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD). All three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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