US-based Nuvation Bio has agreed to acquire AnHeart Therapeutics, an oncology-focused clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm, in an all-stock transaction.

The acquisition is expected to advance Nuvation Bio as a late-stage, international oncology firm with the possibility to become a commercial entity by the end of next year. Currently, Nuvation Bio is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Upon completion of the deal, AnHeart’s former shareholders will own approximately 33% of the combined entity. On the other hand, the current stockholders of Nuvation Bio will own around 67% on a fully diluted basis.

The acquisition of AnHeart enables Nuvation Bio to add taletrectinib, a next-generation ROS1 inhibitor with breakthrough therapy designations. It is currently in two key trials in patients with ROS1-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Additionally, Nuvation Bio will gain access to safusidenib, which is a mutant IDH1 inhibitor. Presently, it is being assessed in a global Phase 2 study of patients with grades 2 and 3 IDH1-mutant glioma.

The American biopharmaceutical company plans to advance both assets and all other internally discovered pipeline candidates, including the Phase 1b trials of NUV-868 and the recently started Phase 1/2 study of NUV-1511.

Nuvation Bio founder, president, and CEO David Hung said: “This transaction represents a significant milestone for our company and reflects Nuvation Bio’s continued commitment to developing therapies for patients with the most difficult-to-treat cancers.

“AnHeart’s lead asset, taletrectinib, which will become our lead asset as it completes two pivotal studies, is a differentiated, next-generation ROS1 inhibitor with a potentially best-in-class profile that may overcome the significant limitations of existing therapies.”

After completion of the deal, Nuvation Bio will be AnHeart`s parent company and will own all the assets of the oncology firm including the intellectual property.

Hung will continue leading the enlarged entity whereas AnHeart’s teams in China and the US will join the Nuvation Bio team.

AnHeart co-founder and CEO Junyuan Jerry Wang said: “AnHeart, named for our deep sense of service to patients, has worked tirelessly over the past five years to advance our pipeline of next-generation precision oncology medicines.

“We are excited to continue our mission as part of Nuvation Bio given their shared vision to improve the lives of people with cancer.”

The deal has been cleared by the board of directors of both firms. It is expected to close in Q2 2024, subject to approval by shareholders of AnHeart and other customary closing conditions.