Armed with cash, Belgian iPSC player makes a play for Celyad’s cell therapy manufacturing site
A Belgian cell therapy player has netted a deal close to home.
Ncardia, a Belgium-based contract research company, spun out its cell therapy and manufacturing arm in April into a company called Cellistic. Now, the spin-out has acquired an 11,000-square-foot facility in the town of Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium, for the price of €6 million ($5.9 million) from Celyad Oncology. The deal is expected to close in Q2 of this year.
According to Cellistic CEO Stefan Braam in an email to Endpoints News, the manufacturer is looking to make strides in large-scale allogeneic cell therapy production, and expanding its GMP capacity will help move that mission forward.
The acquisition will also bring Celyad’s 35 workers under Cellistic’s wing, with the site eventually producing iPSC cell therapies. According to Braam, Cellistic is working to transfer the company’s technology and manufacturing platforms to the site and is working with the employees to eventually get production up and running.
“We have been looking at options for GMP capacity for some time, and evaluated a number of other acquisitions and partnerships. This is an amazing fit for us – close to our current development work ongoing in our Gosselies facility, and a team with expertise in the immuno-oncology and cell therapy pace who knows the process of bringing cell therapies to the clinic too,” Braam wrote to Endpoints.
Ncardia also has the cash to make these kinds of moves as, last year, the company received $60 million in funding from investment platform Kiniciti to bolster its manufacturing operations.
For Celyad, the deal comes as the company is looking at a 54% fall in its share price $CYAD since last year. Also, toward the beginning of this year, it had initially placed a pause on its CAR-T therapy trial after two patients died, with the FDA handing down a clinical hold soon after. Regulators eventually lifted the hold at the beginning of August.