Monmouth Junction-based biotech firm Advaxis Inc. announced Jan. 19 it closed its previously announced merger with Ayala Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical-stage oncology company headquartered in Delaware.
The stock will continue to trade on the OTC market under the symbol ADXS, but the newly combined company will operate under the name Ayala Pharmaceuticals.
Ayala reiterated its previous plans, announced Oct. 19, to uplist to the Nasdaq, but there is no guarantee that this effort will be successful.
The merged company will focus primarily on the development and commercialization of Ayala’s lead program, AL102, for the treatment of desmoid tumors. Even before the merger, Ayala’s focus was on developing and commercializing small-molecule therapeutics for patients suffering from rare tumors and aggressive cancers.
Ayala is also developing proprietary Lm-based antigen delivery products for patients suffering from more common cancers.
The leadership plans announced this fall were upheld and include:
- President, CEO and a director: Kenneth Berlin, formerly president and CEO of Advaxis
- Chief Medical Officer: Dr. Andres Gutierrez, formerly chief medical officer of Advaxis
- Interim Chief Financial Officer: Igor Gitelman
- The board of directors includes: Dr. David Sidransky, chairman; and members Roni Appel, Dr. Samir Khleif, Dr. Vered Bisker-Leib, Murray Goldberg, Dr. Robert Spiegel and Ken Berlin.
In October, the companies said Ayala founder and CEO Dr. Roni Mamluk and Chief Financial Officer Yossi Maimon would resign their positions in addition to Ayala Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Gordon, who would stay on in an advisory role.
“Advaxis took a thorough approach in our quest to find the right partner with the right products,” Berlin said in October.
“The combined management team has extensive commercial and R&D experience, and we believe we have the cash to advance the combined portfolio through key milestones in 2023 … ” Berlin continued. “We believe that this transaction will also help drive our efforts to return to a Nasdaq listing and enhance our ability to access capital.”
The company did not immediately respond for a request for further information.