Gamida Cell, which develops stem cell expansion technologies and therapeutic products, announced today that it has signed an investment and option agreement with Novartis Pharma AG. According to the agreement, Novartis will invest $35 million in Gamida Cell and in return will receive 15% equity and an option to fully acquire Gamida Cell. The option is exercisable for a limited period of time following achievement of certain milestones connected to the development of NiCord, anticipated to be met during 2015. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
Upon exercising the option, Novartis will pay the other shareholders in Gamida Cell cash payments of approximately $165 million, in accordance with the terms of the Agreement. In addition, the selling shareholders will be entitled to future payments which could reach a total of $435 million, depending on certain development and regulatory milestones and on sales of Gamida Cell's products.
Gamida Cell president and CEO Dr. Yael Margolin said, “The investment and option agreement announced today demonstrates Novartis’s belief in the potential of Gamida Cell’s platform technology, product pipeline and team. Novartis is a leading pharmaceutical company with a declared commitment to further expand and develop its pipeline of cell therapy products. This, combined with the breadth of its resources and experience, positions Novartis perfectly for an alliance with Gamida Cell.”
Gamida Cell chairman and Clal Biotechnology Industries’ CEO Mr. Ruben Krupik said, “Every company experiences successes and challenges during the course of its evolution. It is the ones with particularly brilliant scientists and astute management teams that are able to successfully persevere to bring good products to the market. We believe that Gamida Cell is in this category. The investment and option agreement with Novartis could bring the company a significant step closer to this important goal.”
Gamida Cell is currently engaged in a Phase I/II study of NiCord as an investigational therapeutic treatment for hematological malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma. In this study NiCord is being used as the sole stem cell source. NiCord is derived from a single cord blood unit and expanded and enriched with stem cells using Gamida Cell’s proprietary NAM technology.
The current Phase I/II single cord study of NiCord, the first of its kind, is soon to be followed by a Phase III study planned to begin at the end of 2015.
Additionally, recruitment continues for Gamida Cell’s Phase I/II study of NiCord for pediatric sickle cell disease. SCD affects 90,000 to 100,000 in the US alone. Symptoms range in type and severity. However, SCD can be fatal. To date, the only known cure for SCD is stem cell transplantation from a family related matched donor.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 19, 2014
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