- CSL Behring has bought out Calimmune, a Tucson-based stem cell gene therapy biotech, for a $91 million upfront payment.
- The deal gives CSL Behring access to Calimmune's stem cell platforms Select+ and Cytegrity, as well as its CAL-H product candidate, in preclinical studies for the treatment of sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia.
- The purchase also includes R&D facilities in Pasadena, California and Sydney, Australia. Further terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
CSL Behring's pipeline and product portfolio focuses around immunodeficiency and autoimmune diseases, bleeding disorders, hereditary angioedema and hereditary emphysema. The purchase of Calimmune has benefits from two perspectives. It provides CSL Behring with an existing candidate that fits into one of the company's key therapeutic areas, and it also gives the company access to two platforms that will allow the company a route into developing its own ex vivo hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapies.
"Calimmune's scientific accomplishments are impressive," said CSL Behring's CEO Paul Perreault. "The team has built a robust technology platform, and designed a promising HSC gene therapy candidate - CAL-H, which strongly aligns with our longer-term strategic goals, and complements our core competencies and areas of therapeutic focus. While Calimmune is still in the early stages, we believe that our combined strengths have tremendous potential to change treatment paradigms, and most importantly, significantly improve the lives of our patients."
Calimmune has a deal with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, to combine its Select+ technology with the hospital's proprietary gene therapy construct for the treatment of patients with sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia. The Select+ technology positively selects for the modified HSCs. Calimmune is also developing gene therapies for undisclosed hemoglobinopathies.
In 2013, Calimmune began treating HIV-positive patients with a gene-based stem cell therapy in a Phase 1/2 trial, with the aim to protect them from the impact of the virus by blocking CCR5. Treatment of a second batch began in mid-2014.