Redx deal canceled after competitor backs out

Redx Pharma’s reverse takeover of an American competitor has failed, stopping plans for the biotech company to exit the London stock exchange.

Redx, which focuses on cancer and fibrotic diseases treatments, reached an all-share merger agreement with Jounce Therapeutics, an insolvent Massachusetts cancer immunotherapy company. Jounce, however, announced yesterday that it had instead agreed to a merger with Concentra Biosciences. This was a lesser-known company led by Kevin Tang, an American investor.

Redx shares fell by 5 1/2 p or 15.5 percent to 30p on Aim (London Stock Exchange’s junior stock exchange).

Jane Griffiths, Redx chairwoman, stated that the board was “fully confident” in Redx’s future, even though they were disappointed by Jounce’s decision to make a cash offer.

“We believe in the potential for our clinical stage assets, and pipeline of candidates for development. Redx’s offer has not been officially withdrawn under the UK takeover codes, but the board will review all options in accordance with our strategy.

Redx had originally planned to drop its UK listing and instead be quoted on the Nasdaq in New York. This is where Jounce shares are traded.

This is Redx’s latest setback. The venture capitalist Jon Moulton has supported Redx since its inception in 2010. The company was based in Alderley Park, Cheshire. It floated on Aim five more years later before going into administration in 2017.

Lisa Anson is a former AstraZeneca executive, and was also the ex-president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. She became Redx’s boss last year and has been working to develop the lead cancer and fibrosis medicines. Anson, 54 years old, would have been the leader of the combined company, which would be known as Redx. Investors would own 63 percent of the new business.

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