Deal-Making

Another WuXi Vaccines deal? No, just a repurposed press release

Contrary to some reports, WuXi Biologics is not building a second facility for its recently formed vaccines joint venture but has merely secured the $3 billion contract announced last May. Nine months ago, WuXi Biologics and Shanghai-based Hile Bio-Technology formed WuXi Vaccines, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) to service a Letter of Intent (LOI) inked with an undisclosed multinational vaccine company. In November, plans were laid to build a $240 million (€222 million) three-story dedicated manufacturing facility in…

KKR pumps €50m into Univercells through Gamma funding platform

Over a quarter of Gamma Bioscience’s $200 million funding for next-generation bioprocessing technologies will be used to support Univercells’ biomanufacturing tech platforms. In January, global investment firm KKR launched Gamma Bioscience, a portfolio of life sciences tools subsidiaries. The first company to fall under the umbrella was Astrea Bioseparations, a ligand discovery and adsorbent development services firm, previously known as Prometic Bioseparations, acquired by KKR for around $100 million (€93 million) in November 2019. Now KKR and co-investors have committed…

Co.don wins MukoCell contract to make urology cell therapy

MukoCell GmbH has hired Co.don AG to manufacture its autologous cell-based treatment for urological disorders. The deal will see Co.don make the product – also named MukoCell – at its recently established human cell-focused manufacturing facility in Leipzig, Germany. Matthias Meißner, Co.don director of corporate communications, told us MukoCell “is an innovative and gentle method for the surgical repair of urethral strictures.” A urethral stricture is a narrowing of the urethra caused by injury, instrumentation, infection, and certain non-infectious forms of urethritis. MukoCell…

Charles River eyeing up HemaCare expansion and more CGT acquisitions

Charles River Laboratories says it is “seriously pursuing” geographical expansion of its recently acquired HemaCare business as it assesses further opportunities in the cell and gene therapy space. In December last year, contract research organization (CRO) Charles River picked up HemaCare for $380 million, bolstering its cell therapy services portfolio. The firm predicted the acquisition would add at least $50 million to its 2020 consolidated revenue and expects revenue growth for the business to substantially increase over the next five…

Catalent’s $315m Masthercell buy: Frothy exuberance or the new CMO norm?

Catalent has completed its $315 million takeover of cell therapy manufacturer Masthercell. But is this latest CMO acquisition a sign of frothy exuberance, or consolidation of the new normal? Dark Horse Consulting’s Anthony Davies thinks the latter. Last week, Catalent announced it had entered into an agreement to buy Orgenesis’ third-party cell and gene therapy business Masthercell for $315 million (€285 million). Yesterday the deal closed, bringing autologous and allogeneic cell therapy manufacturing and analytical services to Catalent’s capabilities. The…

Catalent to buy Orgenesis’ cell therapy CDMO biz for $315m

Last year Catalent entered the gene therapy space, now the CDMO will expand into cell therapies through the acquisition of Masthercell from Orgenesis. The deal includes a plant in Belgium and a site under construction in Texas. The deal sees contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Catalent paying $315 million (€285 million) for Orgenesis’ third-party cell and gene therapy business Masthercell. Orgenesis will receive around $127 million of this with Masthercell’s backers Great Point Partners and SFPI-FPIM presumably receiving the…

Ori: ‘Partnerships key to bring down cell therapy COGS’

Ori Biotech estimates its automated and closed manufacturing platform can reduce COGS for autologous cell therapies by 60-80% and has teamed with HCATS to help take it to the clinic. One of the key takeaways from this year’s Phacilitate conference last week was the need for partnerships and collaboration to overcome the many issues currently plaguing the cell and gene therapy space, and specifically manufacturing. One such collaboration is between Hitachi Chemical Advanced Therapeutics Solutions (HCATS), the contract development and…

Top 10 advanced therapy milestones of 2019: Patient access takes center stage

CRISPR, capacity, and consolidation powered the cell and gene therapy space in 2019, but a proactive focus on patient access topped Falcon Therapeutics CEO Susan Nichols’ annual roundup. In what has become one of the most anticipated presentations at the Phacilitate conference, Susan Nichols, CEO of cell therapy firm Falcon Therapeutics, laid out the top 10 events of the previous year that have shaped the regenerative medicine space, driving conversation, investment, and innovation. The top spot in 2019 focused on…

Amgen thanks BMS-Celgene merger in creating China opportunity

The opportunistic nature of its partnership with BeiGene threw Amgen into the ever-increasingly attractive China market, management said at JP Morgan. At the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this week, Amgen reflected on its 2019 M&A activity and counted itself as a beneficiary of rival Big Biopharma firm Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMS)  Celgene acquisition for $74 billion (€66 billion). From a product perspective, regulatory divestiture demands led Amgen to pick up the global rights to psoriasis drug Otezla (apremilast)…

Waters adding automation lab tech by buying Andrew Alliance

Waters Corporation will add an automated software system and robotics technology through the acquisition of Swiss biotech firm Andrew Alliance. Life sciences chromatography and measurement company Waters Corporation has not divulged the financial details of the deal, but a company spokesman said it significantly bolsters its lab tech portfolio through the addition of automated technologies. “Andrew Alliance’s cloud-native software platform and user interface dramatically improves the use of automation technology, enabling more scientists to realize the advantages of repeatability and…