US-based pharmaceutical companies Enliven Therapeutics and Imara have entered a definitive merger deal in an all-stock transaction to advance oncology product candidates.

Once the merger has closed, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company will be created that will operate under the name Enliven Therapeutics.

The combined company will focus on advancing Enliven’s pipeline of precision oncology programmes.

Enliven is currently advancing two product candidates, ELVN-001 and ELVN-002.

ELVN-001 is a selective small-molecule BCR-ABL inhibitor designed to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia patients.

ELVN-002 is a selective and irreversible HER2 and pan-HER2 mutant kinase inhibitor targeted for HER2 mutant lung cancer and other HER2-driven tumour types.

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By GlobalData

When the deal closes, the combined company is expected to have nearly $300m in cash and cash equivalents after all transaction expenses.

This cash will be used to advance Enliven’s pipeline of candidates through multiple clinical milestones while providing runway into early 2026.

Subject to the approval of both companies’ shareholders, the merger and financing are expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

Enliven co-founder and CEO Sam Kintz said: “We are excited to announce this merger with Imara, which comes at a pivotal moment for Enliven.

“We recently initiated our Phase I clinical trial for ELVN-001, which is being evaluated in adults with CML, and expect to file our IND for ELVN-002 by the end of the year.”

The company also plans to raise nearly $165m in concurrent private financing to support the merger.

Co-led by new investors Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners and Fairmount, the financing has also seen participation from several new investors.

These include RA Capital Management, Commodore Capital, Frazier Life Sciences and Fidelity Management & Research Company.

All of Enliven’s existing investors, including Surveyor Capital, Boxer Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, 5AM Ventures and Roche Venture Fund, will also participate in the financing.