Gilead Sciences To Acquire Cell Therapy Company in $567-Million Deal
Gilead Sciences and its cell-therapy subsidiary, Kite Pharma, have agreed to acquire Cell Design Labs, an Emeryville, California-headquartered company specializing in cell therapies and related technologies, for $567 million. The acquisition adds to Gilead’s position in cell therapies. In October 2017, Gilead acquired Kite Pharma, a company specializing in chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) therapies for $11.9-billion.
Under the agreement, Gilead will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Cell Design Labs, which includes the approximately 12.2% of shares of Cell Design Labs that are currently held by Kite, for up to approximately $567 million. The agreement includes an initial upfront payment of approximately $175 million, subject to certain adjustments, and additional payments of up to $322 million that will be paid to the shareholders of Cell Design Labs other than Kite upon the occurrence of certain events, including the achievement of development and approval milestones. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close shortly, according to Gilead.
Cell Design Labs is a preclinical stage company with experience in custom cell engineering. The company is developing two propriety technology platforms: synNotch, a synthetic gene-expression system designed to respond to external cues which, among other applications, can be deployed to engineer chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) cells that require dual antigen recognition for activation, and Throttle, an “on switch” designed to modulate CAR T activity using small molecules. Additionally, Cell Design Labs is developing several preclinical product candidates, including therapies for prostate cancer and hepatocellular carcinoma that use the synNotch technology. The company’s lead preclinical candidate targets multiple myeloma.
In October 2017, Gilead completed its $11.9-billion acquisition of Kite Pharma. Kite’s CAR-T therapy, Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel), was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in October 2017. The therapy is indicated as a treatment for refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which includes diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, transformed follicular lymphoma, and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma.
Source: Gilead Sciences