Japanese pharma moves to acquire local stem cell company

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Japanese company Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma has moved to acquire Australian cell therapy company Cynata Therapeutics (ASX:CYP).

Cynata Therapeutics is a clinical-stage stem cell and regenerative medicine company focused on the development of therapies based on its therapeutic stem cell platform technology, Cymerus.

Cymerus uses induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and a precursor cell known as mesenchymoangioblast (MCA) to achieve economic manufacture of cell therapy products, including mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), without the limitation of multiple donors.

The company's lead product candidate, CYP-001, has successfully navigated a phase 1 safety and efficacy trial for the treatment of steroid-resistant acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD). It has also confirmed the utility of Cymerus in preclinical models of asthma, diabetic wounds, heart attack and cytokine release syndrome.

Cynata Therapeutics has previously disclosed plans to progress the development of CYP-001 in phase 2 trials for GvHD, critical limb ischemia and osteoarthritis.

The company confirmed the potential acquisition in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) late last week.

According to the company, which was responding to an ASX Price Query, it has "received an indicative, non-binding and conditional proposal from Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd ('Sumitomo') regarding a possible acquisition of all of the shares in Cynata at a price of $2 per share in cash by way of a scheme of arrangement".

The company was priced at around $1.40 per share before speculation of the potential takeover led to the trading halt - the takeover price of $2 per share values the company at around $200 million.

The company continued, "Following receipt of the Proposal, the Cynata Board decided to grant non-exclusive due diligence access to Sumitomo, during which time Cynata has also continued engagement with certain other parties in relation to making a proposal. Cynata’s discussions with such other parties have ceased.

"The negotiations between Cynata and Sumitomo are incomplete and any entry by the parties into binding transaction documents remains subject to a number of conditions, including (without limitation) the completion of due diligence by Sumitomo and agreement on terms by the parties. There is no certainty that an agreement will be reached or that the Proposal will be implemented."