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MDRNA to Acquire Cequent in $46M Stock Deal

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MDRNA has agreed to acquire privately held RNAi drug shop Cequent Pharmaceuticals in an all-stock deal valued at roughly $46 million, the companies said this week as RNAi News went to press.

Through the transaction, MDRNA will gain Cequent's orally delivered transkingdom RNAi technology, which involves using attenuated Escherichia coli to transcribe therapeutic shRNAs.

In addition, MDRNA will pick up Cequent's RNAi-based treatment for advanced familial adenomatous polyposis, which is slated to enter phase I testing this year, and an earlier-stage program in inflammatory bowel disease.

The combined company is expected to be headquartered in Bothell, Wash., where MDRNA is located, with MDRNA's President and CEO Michael French leading the new firm. Cequent's President and CEO Peter Parker will become chairman of the merged company.

Under the terms of the transaction, each outstanding share of Cequent common stock will be exchanged for MDRNA common stock at an exchange ratio that "implies a purchase price for Cequent shareholders of approximately $44 million, plus an additional value of $2 million to warrant and option holders," the companies said.

The deal is expected to close in July.

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