Painting a Beautiful Mural: Alkermes Completes Spinoff Of Mural Oncology

With a goal of becoming “a pure-play, profitable neuroscience company”, on November 15, Alkermes(ALKS) spun off its oncology business as Mural Oncology(MURA). In the tax free spinoff, Alkermes shareholders as of November 6 received one share of Mural for every ten shares owned.

According to BioPharma Dive, the $275 million in cash that Mural has to start with will last until 2025. BioPharma Dive has this to say about Mural’s pipeline:

With the split, Mural will take the reins on developing a therapy called nemvaleukin alfa for a variety of solid tumors. The therapy is an engineered IL-12 cytokine that’s designed to spur immune cells against tumors. Mural hopes nemvaleukin alfa can offer a better balance of safety and efficacy than recombinant human IL-2.

The research field has been a challenging one: Other companies have set out to develop different flavors of IL-2-targeting drugs, but faced setbacks in clinical testing.

Mural’s candidate is in two potentially registrational studies; one for treating platinum-resistant ovarian cancer in combination with Merck & Co.’s Keytruda, and one as a monotherapy for mucosal melanoma. Readouts for both are expected in the first quarter of 2025. The company also has discovery-stage programs evaluating engineered IL-18 and IL-12 cytokines

Caroline Loew is CEO of the newly formed Mural Oncology.

Alkermes meanwhile, will use its $700 million in cash and continuing profitability to further its focus on neurological diseases and to launch schizophrenia drug Lybalvi. Its forecast for this year:

Non-GAAP net income is now expected to be in the range of $270 million to $300 million, revised from the prior expectation of $230 million to $270 million. Non-GAAP earnings per share (diluted)+ are now expected to be in the range of $1.57 to $1.75, revised from the prior expectation of $1.34 to $1.57.

Both companies offer interesting opportunities. Mural, with a market cap of just under $60 million and $275 million in cash, has ample runway to progress its pipeline, which the market has assigned negative value to. Alkermes, with a P/E of 16 and a robust pipeline for future growth seems cheap as well.

Disclosure: The author holds no position in any stock mentioned.