Seattle biotech Kineta to go public in deal with neuroscience company Yumanity Therapeutics – GeekWire

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Kineta CEO Sean Iodonato. (Kineta Photo)

Seattle Biotechnology Company Kineta goes public through a merger with Therapeutic Yumanity, a Boston-based neuroscience company. Yumanity will also sell part of its pipeline to Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen division for $26 million in a series of deals announced Monday.

The combined company will be called Kineta and will be led by Kineta’s current management team, including Kineta’s CEO Shawn Iodonato and president Craig Phillips.

Existing Kineta shareholders are expected to own 85% of the combined company.

Following the merger, the combined company also plans to raise additional financing through a PIPE (Private Investment in Public Equity). The undisclosed sum will provide Kineta with liquidity to fund its operations through early 2024, Iodonato said during an investor call on Monday.

Yumanity stock closed at $1.99/share on Monday, up 41% from the previous day’s close. The agreements are expected to close in late 2022, subject to shareholder approval.

Yumanity was founded in 2016 and went public in 2020 via a reverse merger with another company, the cystic fibrosis biotechnology company Proteostasis Therapeutics.

But this year, the FDA placed a partial clinical hold on Yumanity’s lead product candidate, which was being evaluated for Parkinson’s disease. This candidate will transfer to Johnson & Johnson, along with other discovery-stage neuroscience candidates from Yumanity being developed without a partner.

Yumanity is also developing treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar dementia in partnership with Merck; this program will be transferred to Kineta. Kineta will retain the scientists working on this program in a small lab in Boston, but the newly merged company will remain based in Seattle, according to a Kineta spokesperson.

Kineta has an existing program to develop treatments for neuropathic pain in partnership with Genentech, but also has a pipeline of immuno-oncology candidates.

Kineta’s immuno-oncology pipeline. Kineta also has a neuroscience program, which will expand with the Yumanity merger. (Picture Kineta)

“We are excited that our lead clinical-stage neurology asset and our non-partner assets continue to be developed and we are very excited about Kineta’s innovative oncology pipeline,” said Yumanity CEO and President. Richard Peters in a statement announcing the deal.

Kineta’s immuno-oncology lead candidate, KVA12.1, is expected to enter Phase 1 clinical trials by the end of 2022, Iodonato said in the call.

“Kineta aims to introduce a new immuno-oncology product focusing on key mechanisms of immune resistance against cancer to the clinic each year,” said Iodonato. Kineta currently has 27 employees.

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