Avalon to buy China’s Senlang for cell therapy pipeline and manufacturing plant

Avalon GloboCare will buy Chinese cell therapy developer Hebei Senlang Biotechnology in a deal prompted by the latter’s pipeline and biomanufacturing capacity.

The deal – which will see Avalon issue 81 million shares – will also include Senlang’s chimeric antigen receptor T-cells, allogeneic CAR Gamma Delta T-cells, and armored tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (armTILs) platforms.

Avalon will also gain SenlangBio Clinical Laboratory, a subsidiary that provides third-party services. The firm specializes in biochemical, genomic and proteomic testing, cell therapy related analysis such as hematology, immunology and immuno-phenotyping.

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Senlang’s candidates include Senl_1904B, an autologous anti-CD19 CAR-T for B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL), and Senl_NS7CAR, an autologous anti-CD7 CAR-T being developed for T-cell ALL and T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (T-LBL).

Manufacturing capacity

SenlangBio manufacturing activities are based at a 16,000 square-foot Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility in Dongguan, in Hebei province. The site houses capacity for biomanufacturing, bioprocessing, and Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) processes.

The plant has five production lines dedicated to autologous CAR-T production with an estimated capacity to produce 5,000-unit doses of cell therapy products.

It also has two lines for the production of “off-the-shelf” cell therapies with an annual output of 10,000-unit doses.

According to SenlangBio, the facility has capacity for the production of lentiviral vectors, plasmids, T-cell cultures as well as validation bio-assays.

Avalon CEO David Jin said, “Harnessing advanced cell and gene engineering strategies, SenlangBio has developed unique core technology platforms for highly effective immune effector cell cancer therapies.

“Their autologous CAR-T candidates have already demonstrated significant positive responses in early clinical studies against relapsed and refractory B-cell and T-cell leukemias and lymphomas, with promising positive response rates and were well tolerated by patients.”

Financing

In addition to the deal, Avalon and SenlangBio have signed agreements with an institutional backer that has committed to invest approximately $30 million in exchange for approximately 15.6% of the equity ownership of SenlangBio.

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