Cell Therapy Deal Review: May

Author: Mark Curtis, 06/23/16

Welcome to your deal review for the month of May. Intellia Therapeutics went public this past month giving investors a second shot on net if they want to gain exposure to gene editing technologies. Caladrius Biosciences spun-out its cell-based immunotherapy to AiVita Medical, as the company pivots to focus on Treg therapies for autoimmune diseases Editas achieved its first milestone under a collaboration with Juno Therapeutics.

Intellia Therapeutics (NTLA) raised just under $113 million to fund its operations. Its closest competitor, Editas Medicine (EDIT), went public in February, raising $94 million. Both companies remain very early-stage, investigating how best to deploy their CRISPR/Cas9 platforms in the clinic. Recognizing that in vivo and ex vivo therapeutics would require different teams with different expertise, Intellia budded off a second division, eXtellia, back in January, which will focus on ex vivo applications of its platform. More recently, the company formed a partnership with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to develop CRISPR/Cas9 products for five liver targets and five non-liver targets. Under that partnership, Regeneron paid Intellia $75 million upfront. Transthyretin amyloidosis, an inherited genetic disorder caused by a mutation in a gene encoding a tumour suppressor protein, is the first indication the companies will pursue under the collaboration.

Caladrius Biosciences (CLBS) is cleaning house of any non-core assets to streamline its business towards therapeutics for autoimmune disease. Following the out-licensing of its cell-derived dermatological technology to AiVita in February, Caladrius has now licensed to AiVita its dendritic cell-based immunotherapy asset for ovarian cancer. As part of the deal, AiVita will sub-license a manufacturing facility in Irvine, California. Caladrius will receive milestones and royalties in exchange for exclusive, global rights of the technology to AiVita. Caladrius is focusing on the development of regulatory T cells (Tregs) cell therapies for autoimmune diseases. On that note, the company announced an orphan designation for CLBS03 to treat early-onset type 1 diabetes.

Finally, Editas Medicine (EDIT) hit its first milestone payment from Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) for technical progress in the development of novel T cell immunotherapies engineered with CARs and TCRs. The collaboration, which was originally announced in May of 2015, is for three programs, each of which has aggregate research, regulatory and commercial milestones of over $230 million. Editas received an upfront payment of $25 million and will also receive collective research support valued at $22 million during the collaboration.

All funds listed are in U.S. dollars.

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Mark Curtis

Mark Curtis

Mark is a Business Development Analyst at the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), where he collaborates with the team to help evaluate the commercial potential of regenerative medicine and cell therapy technologies. He began his career at Princess Margaret Hospital studying cellular reprogramming of human skin cells. Following this project, he left the laboratory and took on a role with Bloom Burton & Co., a healthcare-focused investment dealer. While there he supported the advisory team in carrying out scientific diligence on early-stage biotechnology companies. Prior to joining CCRM he was a consultant to Stem Cell Therapeutics, a Toronto-based biotechnology company focused on developing therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells. Mark received a Master’s degree from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where he studied the directed differentiation of embryonic stem cells, and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, from Queen’s University. Follow Mark on Twitter @markallencurtis
Mark Curtis

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