Global biotherapeutics provider CSL Behring has agreed to acquire Calimmune, a biotechnology company focused on the development of ex vivo hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy with R&D facilities in Pasadena, California, and Sydney, Australia, for an upfront payment of $91 million.
The acquisition will provide CSL Behring with Calimmune's preclinical asset, CAL-H, an HSC gene therapy for the treatment of sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia, which complements CSL Behring's current product portfolio and deep expertise in hematology.
Additionally, CSL Behring will acquire two unique proprietary platform technologies, Select+ and Cytegrity. These technologies are designed to address some of the major challenges currently associated with the commercialization of stem cell therapy, including the ability to manufacture consistent, high-quality products, and to improve engraftment, efficacy and tolerability. Both technologies have broad applications in ex vivo stem cell gene therapy.
"Calimmune shares in our promise and focus to improve the lives of patients with rare and serious medical conditions," said CSL Limited Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Paul Perreault. "The acquisition represents another important step in the execution of our strategy for sustainable growth."
"Calimmune's scientific accomplishments are impressive," Perreault added. "The team has built a robust technology platform, and designed a promising HSC gene therapy candidate - CAL-H, which strongly aligns with our longer-term strategic goals, and complements our core competencies and areas of therapeutic focus. While Calimmune is still in the early stages, we believe that our combined strengths have tremendous potential to change treatment paradigms, and most importantly, significantly improve the lives of our patients."
Calimmune Chief Executive Officer Louis Breton said, "We are excited to become part of CSL Behring. They are an established global industry leader in protein-replacement therapies and have a proven track record of driving innovations through the development pipeline and delivering differentiated products to the global marketplace. Together, we are well positioned to take our achievements to the next level."
CAL-H, Calimmune's HSC gene therapy for sickle cell and β-thalassemia, employs both the Select+ system, and the Cytegrity virus production platform. CAL-H has yielded early positive preclinical results and demonstrates the potential to offer a significant advantage to patients suffering from these currently incurable genetic diseases.
Both proprietary technologies have the potential to be used in treatments for a wide range of other rare diseases that would complement CSL Behring's business, including those within the company's current product portfolio.
The transaction is expected to close within the next two weeks, subject to the satisfaction of various closing conditions.