CSL acquires gene therapy company

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CSL Behring will acquire US biotechnology company Calimmune for an upfront payment of $91 million.

Calimmune, which was founded in 2006, is focused on the development of ex vivo hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy with R&D facilities in California and Sydney.

In addition to the upfront payment, the acquisition agreement includes the potential payment of performance based milestone of up to $325 million over a period currently anticipated to be around eight years or more. The transaction is expected to close within the next two weeks.

The acquisition is underpinned by Calimmune's pre-clinical asset, CAL-H, an HSC gene therapy for the treatment of sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia, complementing CSL Behring's current product portfolio and established expertise in haematology.

CSL Behring also acquires two unique proprietary platform technologies, Select+ and Cytegrity. The platforms are designed to address some of the major challenges currently associated with the commercialisation of stem cell therapy, including the ability to manufacture consistent, high-quality products, and to improve engraftment, efficacy and tolerability. Both technologies have broad applications in ex vivo stem cell gene therapy.

“Calimmune shares in our promise and focus to improve the lives of patients with rare and serious medical conditions,” said CSL CEO and managing director, Paul Perreault. “The acquisition represents another important step in the execution of our strategy for sustainable growth.”

“Calimmune’s scientific accomplishments are impressive,” continued Mr 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.”

According to Calimmune CEO, Louis Breton, “We are excited to become part of CSL Behring. They are an established global industry leader in protein-replacement therapies and have a proven track record of driving innovations through the development pipeline and delivering differentiated products to the global marketplace. Together, we are well positioned to take our achievements to the next level.”