Catalent stays hot as it inks deal with French pharma that suffered PhIII flop
Just a couple of deals in a couple of days for Catalent.
The New Jersey-based CDMO’s latest move is a long-term supply agreement with Erytech Pharma, a French clinical-stage biopharma, and the purchase of its cell therapy manufacturing site in the motherland.
The deal is good for $44.5 million, and 40 of Erytech’s Princeton, NJ employees will be offered employment by the site’s new owner. Catalent will now make Erytech’s lead candidate Graspa for clinical and commercial supply in the US. Graspa is in Phase I trials in patients suffering from pancreatic cancer right now and is in talks with the FDA for a BLA submission in hypersensitive ALL. That’s targeted in Q3 2022.
“Erytech will now further focus capital resources on the development of potentially transformative therapeutics for serious diseases,” CEO Gil Beyen said in a statement. “We are also continuing to evaluate further strategic options for the company, including additional partnerships and addition of complementary assets, through which we can leverage our ERYCAPS® platform and our development and manufacturing capabilities.”
The deal comes just days after Catalent announced that it was doubling down on its faith in Bloomington, IN as the home of drug substance manufacturing with $350 million and the announcement that it would add up to 1,000 new jobs in the upcoming years. That project builds upon a previously pledged 600 jobs and $50 million upgrade that came with dedicating a filling line to Moderna’s Covid-19 jab.
Erytech made waves four years ago when it revealed impressive Phase IIb data for Graspa, but that hype fizzled out a bit when it failed the Phase III pivotal. That led the stock to fall 30% after the hazard ratio came in at 0.92 with a p-value of 0.375.
Catalent will offer up its late-stage and commercial manufacturing expertise to help Erytech with production, regulatory inspections and approvals. Its 30,900 square-foot site has the flexibility to support multiple cell therapy production requirements and capacities, and Catalent plans on building out that site, using the staff it already has to broaden its manufacturing portfolio.
Meanwhile, Erytech will keep its Lyon, France site. The company reported 2021 earnings of $38.1 million, and that will jump up to $60 million upon the closing of this deal. The sale of the Princeton site will also cut $7.5 million a year in operating costs. The deal is expected to fund Erytech’s next stage of operations until the middle of 2024.
“The talented and experienced staff already employed at the facility, the capabilities it has in place, and the opportunity to quickly add further capacity on the same site, allows Catalent to expand rapidly to create a U.S. campus and center of excellence for cell therapy development and manufacturing that will serve customers around the world,” Catalent president of cell and gene therapy Manja Boerman said in a statement.