Akouos, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKUS) is engaged as a precision genetic medicine company, which is focused on the research and development of gene therapies to treat hearing loss. Shares of the gene therapy company are skyrocketing 87% through early trading on Tuesday, October 18, 2022. Over the past three months, Akouos has seen average daily volume of 133,870 shares. However, volume of 13.04 million shares or dollar volume of around $169.39 million, has already exchanged hands through early trading.
Shares of Akouos are soaring after the company announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY). Under the terms of the agreement, Akouos shareholders will receive $12.50 per share in cash and one contingent value right (CVR) of up to $3.00 per share. This gives the transaction a total value of $487 million, with a potential to reach a valuation of $610 million with the contingent value right included.
CVR holders will be eligible to receive contingent payments upon completion of the following milestones: (a) $1.00 in cash, upon the fifth participate being administered AK-OTOF during a Phase 1 or Phase 1/2 trial on or before December 31, 2024; (b) $1.00 in cash upon fifth participant being treatment with a Akouos gene therapy product for a second monogenic form of sensorineural hearing loss (excluding AK-OTOF and AK-antiVEGF) on or prior to December 31, 2026; and (c) $1.00 in cash upon first participant receiving treatment with monogenic form of sensorineural hearing loss in a Phase 3 trial or receipt of FDA approval for Skouos product in the U.S. on or before December 31, 2026. If these milestones are not reached, the value of the CVR will be reduced by 4.2 cents per month until its expiration on December 1, 2028.
Eli Lilly will acquire several drug candidate and pipeline assets addressing otology, inner ear drug delivery and hearing loss-focused gene therapeutics. The company’s flagship candidate, AK-OTOF, is a gene therapy treatment for hearing loss due to mutations in the otoferlin gene. The company also has AK-CLRN1 for User Type 3A, an autosomal recessive disorder brought on by progressive loss of hearing and vision. GJB2 candidate treats a common form of monogenic deafness and hearing loss. The AK-antiVEGF) candidate is a treatment for vestibular schwannoma.
“I am proud of the commitment and passion of our team, which has established Akouos as a pioneer in inner ear genetic medicine, as demonstrated by our work to advance the first investigational therapy for a genetic form of hearing loss into clinical development,” said Emmanuel Simons, Ph.D., M.B.A., co-founder, president, and chief executive officer of Akouos. “Joining Lilly – a company that shares our purpose to make life better for people around the world – will help us accelerate the development of a broad pipeline of inner ear genetic medicines.”
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