22 March 2007
VASTox plc will present further details of the acquisitions announced below and
its strategy going forward at a meeting for analysts to be held at 09.30hrs on
22 March 2007 at the offices of Citigate Dewe Rogerson, 3rd Floor, 3 London Wall
Buildings, London Wall, London EC2M 5SY. Please contact Mark Swallow, Valerie
Auffray or Janine Hagan on 020 7638 9571 for further information.
('VASTox' or 'the Company')
VASTox plc ACQUIRES DANIOLABS LTD AND DEXTRA LABORATORIES LTD TO STRENGTHEN ITS
DRUG DISCOVERY PIPELINE AND PHARMACEUTICAL SERVICES BUSINESS
• Enhances drug pipeline through the addition of two clinical and two
pre-clinical programmes in neurological and ophthalmic diseases
• World dominance in two drug discovery technology platforms: chemical
genomics and carbohydrate chemistry
• Immediate increase in revenue generation from expanded and enhanced
drug discovery service business
Oxford, UK, 22 March 2007 - VASTox plc (AIM: VOX) announced today that it has
completed the simultaneous acquisition of DanioLabs Ltd ('DanioLabs'), a private
UK drug discovery company, and Dextra Laboratories Ltd ('Dextra'), a specialist
carbohydrate chemistry service company.
These deals represent an important strategic step for VASTox as they strengthen
and diversify its drug discovery and development pipeline through the addition
of two clinical and two pre-clinical programmes in neurological and ophthalmic
diseases, which will provide increased near-term opportunities for high-value
licensing and partnership deals; enhance its scientific expertise and
capabilities in zebrafish chemical genomics and carbohydrate chemistry; and
boost its scientific infrastructure through the acquisition of two high-tech
laboratory facilities in Cambridge and Reading. These technology platforms are
crucial to VASTox's ability to create value as they underpin its internal drug
discovery and development programmes as well as forming a basis for the enhanced
growth of its profitable pharmaceutical services business.
In addition, the strengthened technology platforms will immediately increase the
revenues generated by the service business and also offers the potential for an
increase in number of higher-value collaboration deals with its now enlarged
Daniolabs (Cambridge, UK) has been acquired for £15 million payable through the
issue of 11,732,361 new 10p ordinary shares and cash of £159,000 to DanioLabs'
existing shareholders based on a VASTox share price of 126.5p, calculated as an
average share price over a ten-day period ending 20 March 2007, the last
business day before the deal was concluded. Of the consideration shares,
1,173,233 shares will deferred and issued in one year's time provided there are
no warranty claims during the intervening period. At 31 July 2006 DanioLabs
recorded net assets of £2.74m and a loss on operating activities before taxation
The CEO and CFO of DanioLabs will step down with immediate effect. VASTox will
retain Daniolabs' scientific research facility in Cambridge and all 37 remaining
staff will take up new positions within the enlarged Group.
In addition, Dr Andrew Richards, a Non-Executive Director of Daniolabs since its
inception, will be appointed as a Non-Executive Director of VASTox. See Notes to
Editors for biography.
Dextra Laboratories (Reading, UK) has been acquired for £1.5 million, payable
through the issue of 1,185,771 new 10p ordinary shares to Dextra's existing
shareholders, based on a VASTox share price of 126.5p, calculated as an average
share price over a ten-day period ending 20 March 2007, the last business day
before the deal was concluded. On 30 September 2006 Dextra recorded net assets
of £0.17m and a profit on operating activities before taxation of £0.07m.
VASTox will retain Dextra's state-of-the-art chemistry facility in Reading with
all 17 Dextra employees becoming employees of the enlarged VASTox.
The acquisitions are expected to complete by 28 March 2007 when the shares will
be admitted to AIM. Following the completion of both these transactions, a total
of 48,961,965 ordinary shares will be in issue.
Commenting on both deals, VASTox's CEO Steve Lee, PhD said: 'The acquisitions of
DanioLabs and Dextra represent a transforming development for VASTox. The
successful completion of these two deals will add significant value to VASTox's
business with important clinical and pre-clinical additions to our drug pipeline
and a strengthening of our drug discovery and development technology platforms.
'Following these transactions, plus the earlier deal with MNL Pharma in December
2006, VASTox now has a broad drug discovery pipeline with programmes in clinical
and discovery phases of development targeting neuro-disorders, cancer,
ophthalmology, infectious diseases and regenerative medicine. In addition, the
Company has established itself as the dominant global player in the areas of
chemical genomics and carbohydrate chemistry, both of which are increasingly
being recognised by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as valuable and
effective technologies for the drug discovery and development process.
'Today's announcement further highlights the ambitions we have for the future of
VASTox and we are confident the enlarged company has now reached a position
where it will be able to create substantial value for all our shareholders.'
An Enhanced Drug Discovery Pipeline
The acquisition of DanioLabs has expanded VASTox's drug discovery pipeline
through the addition of a portfolio of high-quality discovery programmes across
a range of therapeutic indications. One of VASTox's core areas of expertise in
neuro-disorders (neurodegenerative and neuromuscular) has been boosted by two
clinical programmes in Phase I trials targeting the symptoms of Parkinson's
disease, plus several discovery stage programmes focusing on a variety of
neuro-disorders including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and cognitive disorders.
The Company's discovery pipeline has also been augmented with a well-developed
pre-clinical programme focused on treatments of glaucoma and age-related macular
VASTox will integrate these programmes rapidly over the coming months with the
objective of advancing them through the clinical and discovery phases of
A Global Force in Two Technology Platforms
VASTox's technology platform has been significantly strengthened in the key
areas of zebrafish chemical genomics and carbohydrate chemistry. The acquisition
of DanioLabs has created the premier zebrafish company in the world and
demonstrates the belief the Company has in the ability of zebrafish to
significantly reduce the cost and time of the drug discovery process. This
belief is being validated by the rising number of service collaborations and the
increasing values of these deals, which both VASTox and DanioLabs are
undertaking with the wider pharmaceutical industry.
Tony Sedgwick, CEO of DanioLabs, commented: 'On behalf of the management and
founders of Daniolabs, I am delighted that we have been able to secure the
future of our drug discovery programmes and chemical genomics technology by
joining forces with VASTox. There is clear synergy between the two companies and
we believe that this combination has created the world's leading company in
these cutting-edge zebrafish technologies. Furthermore, we believe that this
development will maximise the opportunity for VASTox to change the way drug
discovery is conducted in the future. It will be exciting to see how this
company grows towards its ambitions of becoming a global player.'
Dextra Laboratories has an established world-class reputation in the area
carbohydrate chemistry and the Company has a profitable custom synthesis
business with a turnover in excess of £700,000 in 2006. Dextra has an unrivalled
and innovative scientific expertise in the synthesis and manufacture of compound
targets across a range of therapeutic areas. These novel synthetic techniques
and strategies have generated a valuable library of complex and rare
carbohydrate compounds, which are available to clients through an on-line
The acquisition of Dextra expands significantly VASTox's scientific knowledge
and capabilities in the high-value area of carbohydrate chemistry. Carbohydrate
molecules are fundamental to life and bring significant value to drug discovery
by potentially increasing the efficacy of existing drugs while also being
sources of new therapeutics.
Following the acquisition of Dextra and the deal in December 2006 for key assets
of MNL Pharma, VASTox now has access to the world's leading experts on
carbohydrate chemistry as it becomes the global leader in this commercially
under-exploited area of the drug discovery industry.
John Fromson, PhD, Executive Chairman of Dextra, commented: 'We are delighted
that Dextra will be joining forces with VASTox and are excited about the
scientific, commercial and financial input VASTox can offer to developing our
combined offering for enhancing the drug discovery and development process. Our
scientists look forward to being part of VASTox and working towards realising
the full potential of carbohydrates in the pharmaceutical industry and
developing this world-class business.'
Following this announcement, VASTox have begun the process to find a new
corporate identity, which will better reflect the business of the enlarged
High resolution images are available for the media to view and download free of
charge from www.vismedia.co.uk
- ends -
For more information, please contact:
Steven Lee, PhD, Chief Executive Officer Tel: +44 (0)1235 443951
Darren Millington, Chief Financial Officer
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
Mark Swallow / David Dible / Valerie Auffray Tel: +44 (0)207 638 9571
Notes to Editors
About VASTox plc
VASTox is a leading UK biotechnology company that discovers and develops
proprietary new drugs. The Company's internal drug development programmes are
underpinned by its advanced chemistry and drug screening (chemical genomics)
technology platforms, which it also provides on a collaborative or
fee-for-service basis to the pharmaceutical industry.
VASTox has a broad range of drug discovery programmes in the clinical,
pre-clinical and discovery stages of development, which target serious diseases
with a high unmet medical need. These therapeutic areas include neuro-disorders
(neurodegenerative and neuromuscular), anti-infectives, ophthalmic diseases,
oncology and regenerative medicines.
VASTox's in-house drug development capabilities combine world-class expertise in
both medicinal and carbohydrate chemistry with high-volume, high-content
screening using its proprietary zebrafish and fruitfly technologies (chemical
genomics). These whole organism screens have the potential to dramatically
decrease the time and cost of drug discovery and development by delivering data
that are highly predictive of the efficacy and toxicity of potential drug
compounds in humans.
The company listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in October
2004 - symbol: VOX
Further information about the company is available at www.vastox.com
About the Nominated Non-Executive Director, Dr Andrew Richards
Dr Andrew Richards has been a director of DanioLabs since its foundation in
2002. He is currently a director of Vectura Group plc, Biowisdom Limited,
Theradeas Limited, Cancer Research Technology Limited (commercial arm of CR-UK)
and Babraham Bioscience Technology Limited in addition to being chairman of
Geneservice Limited and Pharmakodex Limited. He is a founder member of the
Cambridge Angels, a member of the Council of UEA and a director of the
Bioindustry Association (BIA). A Cambridge graduate with a PhD in protein
chemistry, he spent his early career with ICI plc (now AstraZeneca plc) and with
PA Technology. In 1992, he co-founded Chiroscience and was business development
director through to the merger in 1999 with Celltech. He is an established
biotechnology entrepreneur and business angel, focusing on founding, investing
in, and assisting in the development of biotechnology and healthcare companies
including several of those listed above as well as Arakis Limited, Cambridge
Biotechnology Limited, Amedis Pharmaceuticals Limited and Sirus Pharmaceuticals
Limited all of which were recently sold.
VASTox confirms that, save for the above, there are no other matters under
paragraph (g) of Schedule 2 of the AIM rules to be announced.
This document contains 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the
U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking
statements can be identified by words such as 'anticipates', 'intends', 'plans',
'seeks', 'believes', 'estimates', 'expects' and similar references to future
periods, or by the inclusion of forecasts or projections.
Forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current expectations and
assumptions regarding our business, the economy and other future conditions.
Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, by their nature, they
are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that
are difficult to predict. The Company's actual results may differ materially
from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. The Company cautions
you therefore that you should not rely on any of these forward-looking
statements as statements of historical fact or as guarantees or assurances of
future performance. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from those in the forward-looking statements include (factors
included in this presentation) and regional, national, global political,
economic, business, competitive, market and regulatory conditions.
This information is provided by RNS
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