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Bankruptcy court approves $40 million takeover of Bind Therapeutics

A federal bankruptcy court Wednesday approved a $40 million takeover of cancer drug developer Bind Therapeutics Inc. by Big Pharma stalwart Pfizer Inc.

The court order authorizing the sale closes the book on Bind, a 10-year-old Cambridge biotech company that pioneered a novel approach to fighting cancer but ran into financial trouble before it could bring its experimental therapies to the marketplace.

Bind chief executive Andrew Hirsch wasn’t available to discuss the sale Wednesday, a company spokesman said. But he released a statement saying it was “the best possible outcome for all stakeholders given our circumstances.”

“I continue to believe in the potential for Bind’s nanomedicine technology to create valuable medicines that treat serious diseases and I look forward to watching what comes out of Pfizer’s nanomedicine pipeline,” Hirsch said in the statement.

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He also said he expected the bankruptcy settlement would “pay every creditor in full and allow for a meaningful distribution to equity holders.”

Bind filed for US bankruptcy protection in May after the breakdown of talks to restructure its debt. Pfizer submitted a $19.7 million stalking horse bid that Bind disclosed July 1. It raised its offer after Bind received two competing bids in a court-supervised auction.

Cofounded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology institute professor Robert Langer and Harvard Medical School professor Omid Farokhzad, Bind developed a technology for engineering nanoparticles to kill cancerous cells and tissues. The company struck research collaborations with several larger companies drawn to the technology, including Pfizer, Merck & Co., and AstraZeneca PLC.

Following the auction on Monday, the company said it had determined that Pfizer’s sweetened bid was the highest and best. Bind said it had selected NanoCarrier Co. of Japan as the backup bidder, but it did not specify its offer or identify the third bidder.

Bind, struggling to firm up its finances, cut its workforce by 38 percent to 61 employees this spring and began seeking a partner to help develop its lead cancer drug. Its bankruptcy filing was precipitated by an April 26 notice from lender Hercules Capital, a Palo Alto, Calif., venture debt firm that demanded payment in full of the $13.2 million balance on its loan.

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The acquisition was formally approved by US Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.


Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.