Cytori hooks Azaya, acquires delivery platform
- Regenerative medicine company Cytori Therapeutics has snagged access to nanoparticle technology and broadened its pipeline by inking a deal to acquire oncology company Azaya Therapeutics.
- In a deal that could be worth around $165 million, Cytori has pledged up to $16.25 million in milestone payments, $100 million in royalties and $50 million in licensing fees.
- The close of the deal is expected no later than Feb. 28, at which point Cytori will issue $2 million of its own common stock and pay off the same amount of Azaya's trade payables. Also at that point, Cytori will obtain a five-year lease for Azaya's nanoparticle manufacturing facility.
The potential to regenerate or replace tissue offers exciting opportunities for human health, particularly in an aging population. Cytori Therapeutics' pipeline of regenerative therapies is based on a variety of cells taken from patients' own fat tissue. The company harvests and processes those cells, known as adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRCs), on site, making them treatment-ready in one day.
Cytori's lead projects are HABEO, which is in Phase 3 for scleroderma-related hand dysfunction, and ACT-OA, which has completed a Phase 2a/2b trial in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The HABEO Phase 3 STAR readout is expected mid-2017.
"Azaya's technology and intellectual property present an exciting opportunity to marry Cytori’s cell therapy technology, which is currently in late-stage clinical trials, to a clinically proven and patented off-the-shelf pharmaceutical delivery system directly applicable to regenerative medicine," Cytori's CEO Marc Hedrick said in a Jan. 19 statement.
The deal with Azaya Therapeutics not only provides Cytori a delivery system, but also gives it access to two clinical-stage oncology compounds. ATI-0918, a generic form of liposomal doxorubicin, has completed its bioequivalence studies with Johnson & Johnson's Doxil, the European reference product, and according to Cytori, may reach the European market in 2019 following submission in early 2018. ATI-1123, a novel formulation of liposomal docetaxel, is in Phase 1 testing.
Regenerative medicine has attracted a big dose of M&A activity as of late. Allergan, which went on a deal spree in 2016, picked up LifeCell in a $2.9 billion acquisition giving the specialty pharma access to a fast-growing area. And U.K. drug and device company Mallinckrodt completed its acquisition of Stratatech, gaining access to StrataGraft, a biologic treatment for severe burns in Phase 3 testing.
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