Celyad plant buy to accelerate growth for cell therapy CDMO Cellistic

Cellistic has agreed to buy Celyad Oncology’s capabilities in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium to support its “rapidly growing” allogeneic iPSC manufacturing business.

The deal will see Cellistic, the cell therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) business of Ncardia BV, add the 11,000 square-foot facility located in Mont-Saint-Guibert – around 25km southwest of Brussels – from CAR-T developer Celyad. The site achieved GMP approval back in 2012 when Celyad was known as Cardio3 BioSciences.

“The purchase price for the assets in the transaction was €6 million [$6 million], but we are planning on investing many times that in the construction, equipment, and platform development for that capacity,” a Cellistic spokesperson told BioProcess Insider. “The original facility design accommodated both autologous and allogeneic work. With our focus on allogeneic iPSC [Induced pluripotent stem cells] manufacturing we can maximize our throughput around those processes.”

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Cellistic will take on a team of more than 30 manufacturing, quality, and related personnel from Celyad as part of the deal, but unlike many other examples of CDMOs buying facilities from drug sponsors – see recent examples from Catalent, Resilience, and Fujifilm – will not be taking Celyad on as a client.

Cellistic was launched as an iPSC cell therapy services firm by Dutch contract research Ncardia back in April, and the deal with Celyad is set to jumpstart the CDMO’s growth strategy.

“GMP capacity has been a part of the plan for Cellistic from day 1 – it was all about figuring out how we would get there. It’s been months of work evaluating multiple opportunities for acquisition in the US and Europe, and months in direct negotiation with Celyad; well worth it considering how good a fit and exciting a prospect bringing the Celyad manufacturing team into Cellistic,” we were told.

“The acquisition of Celyad has actually accelerated our plans for growth, in which the launch of a cGMP facility was indeed planned for the end of 2023. We’re excited that this transaction brings an experienced staff to help that acceleration, too.

“Looking ahead, we expect to grow – as cell therapy is growing – smartly and rapidly. We’re obviously thrilled to see how this acquisition helps accelerate those plans. We know that to achieve our ambitious vision for Cellistic, additional expansion will be required. And we’ve got strong backing from our leadership and investors to do precisely that. We can expect continued investment in all our facilities and teams to help us grow.”