Sangamo Bets on CAR-Treg Through $84m TxCell Acquisition

CAR-Treg is the next biology of interest for gene-modified cellular therapies says TxCell, which is set to be acquired by Sangamo Therapeutics.

Sangamo Therapeutics has agreed to buy French biotech TxCell for approximately €72 million (US$84 million), bolstering its pipeline with cellular immunotherapies based on regulatory T lymphocytes, or Tregs.

The acquisition will help bring candidates, including TX200 for transplant rejection, through the clinic and towards commercialization, TxCell’s CEO Stephane Boissel told Bioprocess Insider.

“We did not want to start clinical validation without a lot of cash and/or a partner. Access to capital to go up to clinical validation was impossible for TxCell as a stand-alone business at a reasonable cost.”

He added Sangamo was “the optimal combination of the best match for our project and the best option for our shareholders,” and the €72 million offer represented a “superb premium,” up 175% on a previous offer.

Star Treg

Sangamo has struck several deals to use its Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN) based gene editing technology, including with Big Biopharms Pfizer, Sanofi and Shire. Earlier this year, the firm partnered with Gilead /Kite to use the ZFN tech for the development of CAR-T products.

The TxCell acquisition will “position [Sangamo] in the emerging field of CAR-Tregs in transplantation and autoimmune diseases,” the firm said in a conference call. “As with Gilead’s CAR-T in oncology, ZFN will be used to develop the next-generation of CAR-Tregs products.”

According to Boissel, the deal illustrates that the next biology of interest for gene-modified cellular therapy developers is Treg.

“As the CAR and gene-editing technologies matures and become commercially available treatments, yes we can certainly expect more strategic alliances (licensing or M&A) in the future, especially as big pharma – with a few exception – seems to be late in the game still dominated by start-up and mid to late stage biotech companies.”

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