Novartis Takes Equity Stake in Stem Cell Company
Gamida Cell, a Jerusalem-based developer of stem-cell technologies and therapeutic products, has signed an investment and option agreement with Novartis Pharma AG, under which Novartis will invest $35 million in Gamida Cell and in return, receive a 15% equity stake in the company and an option to fully acquire Gamida Cell.
The option is exercisable for a limited period of time following achievement of certain milestones connected to the development of NiCord, anticipated to be met during 2015. NiCord is an investigational stem-cell therapeutic treatment for hematological malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma, Upon exercising the option, Novartis would pay the other shareholders in Gamida Cell cash payments of approximately $165 million and potential future payments up to $435 million, depending on certain development and regulatory milestones and on sales of Gamida Cell’s products. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
Gamida Cell develops stem-cell therapy products for transplantation and regenerative medicine. The company's pipeline of stem-cell therapy products are in development to treat a wide range of conditions, including blood cancers, solid tumors, non-malignant hematological diseases (e.g., sickle cell disease and thalassemia), neutropenia and acute radiation syndrome, autoimmune diseases, and genetic metabolic diseases as well as conditions that can be helped by regenerative medicine. Gamida Cell's therapeutic candidates contain populations of adult stem cells, selected from non-controversial sources such as umbilical cord blood, bone marrow, and peripheral blood, which are expanded in culture.
Source: Gamida Cell