Juno Therapeutics, a Seattle, Wash.-based biopharmaceutical company focused on re-engaging the body's immune system to revolutionize the treatment of cancer, has acquired Stage Cell Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company based in Munich and Göttingen, Germany.
The acquisition provides Juno access to transformative cell selection and activation capabilities, next-generation manufacturing automation technologies, enhanced control of its supply chain and lower expected long-term cost of goods. Juno plans to operate the acquired company, which employs 23 scientists, engineers and other personnel, as a wholly-owned German subsidiary under the name Juno Therapeutics.
"This important acquisition is driven by our strategy to have best in class process development and manufacturing capabilities in support of our goal of developing next generation CAR and TCR products," said Hans Bishop, CEO.
Since its founding in 2005, Stage has been translating innovative and unique science and technology into cell therapeutics. The company´s next generation cell isolation and expansion technology platforms are based on fully reversible reagents that enable the advanced isolation and expansion of T cells during the manufacturing process. Juno will invest in commercially scaling these and other technologies for incorporation into next-generation CAR and TCR product candidates.
Juno made an upfront payment of approximately $59 million and 486,279 shares of Juno stock to acquire the 95% of Stage not already owned by Juno. Juno also is obligated to pay success-based payments of up to $152.6 million based upon the achievement of development and commercialization milestones related to novel reagents ($45.2 million), advanced automation technology ($73.5 million), and Stage's existing clinical pipeline ($33.2 million).
Juno's long-term aim is to improve and leverage its cell-based platform to develop new product candidates that address a broader range of cancers and human diseases. Juno brings together innovative technologies from research institutions including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Seattle Children's Research Institute and the National Cancer Institute.