Bionomics Acquires Prestwick Chemical

  • Pre-existing business integration and strong synergies
  • Valuable drug libraries and in-house expertise
  • Blue chip medium and large pharma customer base
  • High upside potential with modest purchase price

ADELAIDE, South Australia, Sept. 23, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bionomics Limited (ASX:BNO) (ADR:BMICY) has acquired the business assets of Prestwick Chemical, based in Strasbourg France. Prestwick is co-located with Bionomics' wholly-owned business Neurofit, and reported revenues for the year to December 2013 of €4.292 million. Bionomics has agreed to pay €270,000 for the assets.

Prestwick is a premium provider of medicinal chemistry services and smart screening libraries. It specialises in research and development services in early drug discovery including hit identification and validation, hit to lead, and lead optimisation based on its expertise and state-of-the-art computational technology. Prestwick boasts one marketed product from its contract research services as well as several compounds in Phase III clinical trials.

Bionomics has been an active Prestwick customer since 2009, with Prestwick currently involved in Bionomics' pain program and previously contracted to work on Bionomics' BNC375 program. Both programs are partnered with Merck & Co. The acquisition of Prestwick vertically integrates key functions within Bionomics in early stage drug discovery and development in neuroscience and oncology.

A very valuable asset of Prestwick is its blue chip customer list. Its big pharmaceutical company customers include GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Sanofi Aventis, Abbot and EMD (Merck Serono). In addition Prestwick has several dozen small and mid-size pharmaceutical and biotechnology company clients. Its expertise and customer base are complementary and highly synergistic with those of Neurofit.

"The acquisition of Prestwick is an important addition to Bionomics' global operations. Bionomics is especially pleased to have acquired the Prestwick drug candidate library. This is a prized asset and we are well placed to understand and benefit from its true value," said Dr Deborah Rathjen, Bionomics' CEO and Managing Director.

"Bionomics is building a global business with integrated drug discovery and development expertise to support strategic partnerships. Prestwick adds to Bionomics' capacity to rapidly identify and advance high value drug candidates for partnering and development."

"Prestwick will continue to provide its existing services and its name will not change. Ownership by Bionomics will bring stability within the board and management and deliver synergies by complementing the existing Bionomics business, cementing the important role of Prestwick in ongoing Bionomics R&D programs."

"The acquisition comes with no debt, but valuable assets including the expertise of its staff in drug innovation and direct channels into a large number of pharmaceutical companies."

"Longer term Bionomics shareholders will recall the 2005 acquisition of Neurofit. The similarities are apparent and if Prestwick returns a fraction of the benefits of Neurofit then it will likely be a very worthwhile investment, for a modest price."

The hand over of the assets and management will occur on 1 October 2014.

In 2005 Bionomics acquired Neurofit, a contract research organisation specialising in neurological diseases. Neurofit has played a key role in the identification of BNC210 which is in development for the treatment of anxiety and depression. Neurofit has also been involved in the evaluation of compounds in the BNC375 program licensed by Merck & Co for up to $US506 million in upfront and milestone payments plus royalties on product sales.

Prestwick Chemical was founded in 1999 by Professor CG Wermuth, a world renowned expert in medicinal chemistry, along with senior scientists from Strasbourg University.

About Bionomics Limited

Bionomics (ASX:BNO) is biopharmaceutical company which discovers and develops innovative therapeutics for cancer and diseases of the central nervous system. Bionomics has small molecule product development programs in the areas of cancer, anxiety, memory loss and pain. Its oncology approach includes cancer stem cell therapeutics as well as vascular disruption in solid tumours. Bionomics partners include Merck & Co and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.

Bionomics' discovery and development activities are driven by its four proprietary technology platforms: MultiCore®, a diversity orientated chemistry platform for the discovery of small molecule drugs; ionX® , a set of novel technologies for the identification of drugs targeting ion channels for diseases of the central nervous system; Angene®, a drug discovery platform which incorporates a variety of genomics tools to identify and validate novel angiogenesis targets (involved in the formation of new blood vessels); and CSC Rx Discovery™, which identifies antibody and small molecule therapeutics that inhibit the growth of cancer stem cells. These platforms drive Bionomics' pipeline and underpin its established business strategy of securing partners for its key compounds. Bionomics partners include Merck & Co and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.

Factors Affecting Future Performance

This announcement contains "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the United States' Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements contained in this presentation that relate to prospective events or developments, including, without limitation, statements made regarding Bionomics' development candidates BNC105, IW-2143 (BNC210), BNC101 and BNC375, our acquisition of Eclipse Therapeutics and ability to develop products from their platform, its licensing deals with Merck & Co and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, drug discovery programs and pending patent applications are deemed to be forward-looking statements. Words such as "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," "projects," "forecasts," "will" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.

There are a number of important factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements, including risks related to our available funds or existing funding arrangements, a downturn in our customers' markets, our failure to introduce new products or technologies in a timely manner, Ironwood's decisions to continue or not continue development of IW-2143, Merck's decisions to continue or not to continue development of partnered compounds, regulatory changes, risks related to our international operations, our inability to integrate acquired businesses and technologies into our existing business and to our competitive advantages, as well as other factors. Results of studies performed on competitors products may vary from those reported when tested in different settings.

Subject to the requirements of any applicable legislation or the listing rules of any stock exchange on which our securities are quoted, we disclaim any intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this presentation.

CONTACT: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Bionomics Limited Dr Deborah Rathjen CEO & Managing Director +618 8354 6101 / 0418 160 425 Monsoon Communications Rudi Michelson +613 9620 3333 The Trout Group Lauren Glaser +1 646 378 2972 lglaser@troutgroup.comSource:Bionomics Limited