Mariel Therapeutics Acquires Stryker Assets

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Mariel Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Stryker Corporation’s (SYK) Bone Morphogenetic Protein-7 (BMP-7) assets. The BMP-7 assets of the MI-based medical device provider will be used by Mariel for the potential treatment of osteoarthritis, chronic kidney disease and other organ fibrosis conditions.

Mariel has acquired the rights to over 450 issued and pending patents of Stryker and the latter’s BMP-7-related clinical and research data and the associated biologic materials. However, the privilege of the first negotiation for commercial rights in the area of osteoarthritis will be retained by Stryker. The financial terms of the transaction have been kept under wraps.

BMP-7 is a protein found naturally in bones, but only in trace amounts. It plays a key role in the transformation of mesenchymal cells into bones. For over a decade, Stryker has been dedicated to the research and development of BMP-7 for clinical applications.

Human recombinant BMP-7 has previously been used in reconstructive bone applications in over 40,000 patients. Notably, Phase I and Phase IIa trials in osteoarthritis have been completed.

Following the acquisition, Mariel intends to pursue a Phase IIb/III clinical trial for osteoarthritis and Phase I trials for chronic kidney disease and Alport's Syndrome, a genetic kidney fibrosis disease.

Over the last few months, shares of Stryker have been on the rise driven by a continued growth momentum. Investors are confident about the stock based on its potential to become a medtech company as it continues to grow through acquisitions.

Last month, Stryker entered into a definitive agreement to acquire assets of Morrisville, PA-based Small Bone Innovations, Inc. Stryker will purchase assets that include the Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement System (STAR Ankle).

The inclusion of STAR Ankle system will boost Stryker’s existing Foot & Ankle portfolio. Other assets that will be acquired by Stryker include finger, wrist, and elbow products, which will enhance the company’s upper extremity product line.

In Apr 2014, Stryker closed the Berchtold acquisition, which is expected to accelerate growth at Stryker’s endoscopy division and operating room equipment product portfolio by adding complementary solutions.

In Mar 2014, Stryker completed the acquisition of CA-based developer of hip arthroscopy products, Pivot Medical, Inc. Pivot’s offerings are expected to complement Stryker's existing Sports Medicine portfolio and provide the latter’s customers with comprehensive solutions to address certain challenges faced during current Sports Medicine procedures.

Currently, Stryker carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the medical products industry include Nxstage Medical, Inc. (NXTM), OraSure Technologies, Inc. (OSUR) and Cardiovascular Systems Inc. (CSII). While Nxstage Medical and OraSure Technologies sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Cardiovascular Systems carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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