Unsolicited bid casts doubts on $425m Redx merger with US pharma group

Doubt has been cast over the planned $425m merger of Cheshire-based cancer drugs discovery company Redx Pharma and American drug research business Jounce Therapeutics following an unsolicited takeover bid for Jounce.

Alderley Park-based Redx announced the recommended proposed deal last month.

The combined group is proposed to be headquartered at Alderley Park, with a drug discovery and clinical development team in Massachusetts, USA.

When the deal was announced on February 23, based on Redx’s fully diluted market capitalisation of £244m ($294m) and Jounce’s expected cash and cash equivalents at the time of completion, implies a market value for the combined group of $425m, before taking into account the value of Jounce’s existing clinical and non-clinical stage programmes.

However, today, Redx made a stock exchange announcement saying it “notes the announcement from Jounce Therapeutics, issued last night, regarding the receipt of an unsolicited and non-binding proposal to acquire 100% of the equity of Jounce from Concentra Biosciences, LLC.

“On 23 February 2023, the boards of Redx and Jounce unanimously recommended a business combination of the two companies via an all share merger transaction, which is expected to complete during the second quarter of 2023 subject to necessary regulatory and shareholder approvals.”

It added: “Further updates will be made as and when appropriate.”

Concentra, which is also based in the US, aims to achieve the 100% acquisition of Jounce. Shares in Jounce soared by up to 40% on the news.

Jounce said: “The board is committed to acting in the best interests of all shareholders, consistent with its fiduciary duties. A further announcement will be made in due course.”

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