Ikena Oncology to buy Pionyr Immunotherapeutics

Aug. 7, 2023

Ikena Oncology, a Boston-based targeted oncology company, will acquire Pionyr Immunotherapeutics in an all-stock transaction. 

Per the deal, Ikena will acquire all of Pionyr’s assets, including approximately $43 million in net cash, in exchange for shares of Ikena stock, in a combination of common stock and non-voting convertible preferred stock.

Back in 2020, Gilead Sciences paid $275 million to acquire a 49.9% percent equity interest in San Fran-based Pionyr, along with the exclusive option to buy out the remainder of the cancer immunotherapy developer. But earlier this year, the two amended the option-to-acquire agreement, with Gilead waiving its option to acquire Pionyr — freeing up Pionyr to pursue fundraising and partnering opportunities. Gilead retained its 49% equity stake.

In stepped Ikena, who now plans to use the cash capital from the Pionyr acquisition towards clinical efforts in its lead targeted oncology program, IK-930, as well as other pipeline programs.

IK-930 is a TEAD1 selective Hippo pathway inhibitor, a known tumor suppressor pathway that also drives resistance to multiple targeted therapies. Ikena's additional research spans other targets in the Hippo pathway as well as the RAS signaling pathway, including developing IK-595, a novel MEK-RAF inhibitor.