Biotech giant Gilead Sciences Inc. and its Kite Pharma Inc. subsidiary in Santa Monica are buying Cell Design Labs Inc. for up to $567 million as the battle to develop cancer-targeting cell therapies heats up.
Gilead of Foster City, which bought Kite Pharma in August for $12 billion, said Thursday the deal to acquire the Emeryville-based lab would close shortly.
“The transaction will build on Gilead’s recent acquisition of Kita Pharma Inc. and has the potential to help the Gilead and Kite organizations accelerate the development of next generation cellular therapy candidates,” the companies said in a joint news release.
The transaction includes an up-front payment of $175 million, plus added payments of $322 million upon meeting certain milestones. About 12.2 percent of shares in Cell Design held by Kite are included as part of the deal.
Among Cell Design Labs’ chief investors and board members is Los Angeles biotech maverick Dr. Arie Belldegrun, founder of Kite Pharma and now a major advisor.
The acquisition strengthens Gilead’s position as developer of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CART-T) drugs, a new class of treatments that transform a patient’s immune cells to target cancer.
In October, Kite won federal approval for a Yescarta CAR-T treatment for adults with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In August, competitor Novartis AG won federal approval for the first cell-based cancer treatment in the U.S. for acute leukemia.
Cell Design will bring to the Gilead fold two tech platforms that can be applied to cell therapy and early stage treatments for prostate cancer and a type of blood cancer.
By Dana Bartholomew
Source: LA Business Journal
Colorcon Ventures, the corporate venture fund of Colorcon Inc., has invested in VeriSIM Life, a San Francisco-based startup with a digital bio-simulation platform that accelerates drug development and reduces animal testing.
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Sanofi has ended a long-running alliance with Sangamo Therapeutics to develop genetic medicines for inherited blood disorders, among them an experimental sickle cell disease therapy that is in early clinical testing.
The two have been developing complex, personalized treatments, led by a sickle cell drug known as SAR445136. But Sanofi is now more interested in off-the-shelf approaches, which are meant to be more convenient.