Trimeris (Masdaq: TRMS), developer of the HIV drug Fuzeon, plans to merge with a Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical firm in an all-stock deal, the firms announced Monday.

The deal would result in Synageva BioPharma controlling 75 percent of the combined company. Synageva, which moved to Lexington, Mass., from Atlanta in 2008 is privately held and will emerge as a public company if the deal is finalized.

In 2009, an $81 million acquisition of Trimeris by a South Korean firm fell through, leading to a $12 million breakup fee for Trimeris.

Trimeris is profitable, but sales of Fuzeon have been declining.

The company recently won a $4.9 royalty settlement with Roche, which manufacturers and sell Fuzeon.

“We believe this newly combined company will have dramatic upside,” said Martin Mattingly, chief executive officer at Trimeris. “The rare disease space offers very attractive opportunities for success due to the absence of effective therapies, the relatively small clinical trials, and the faster path to commercialization. We found the Synageva opportunity to be particularly compelling. The combined company will have a clinical stage asset with ownership of worldwide commercial rights, a portfolio of additional rare disease programs, substantial financial resources and a strong management team with prior experience in successfully bringing rare disease products to market.”
Synageva management will run the combined company with Sanj Patel serving as chief executive officer.

“The strategic combination of our two companies will allow Synageva to continue to aggressively advance our lead clinical program, SBC-102, an enzyme replacement therapy for LAL [lysosomal acid lipase] Deficiency,” Patel said.

“This transaction gives us access to significant financial resources while maintaining our focus on the goal of bringing our clinical development programs to commercialization as soon as possible.”

Get the latest news alerts: Follow WRAL Tech Wire at Twitter.