CSL Behring buys Calimmune for early stem cell, gene therapy boost

The company will pay $91 million and gain access to new R&D facilities.

CSL Behring has paid out $91 million upfront for biotech Calimmune and gains a preclinical asset for sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia, adding to its blood disease pipeline.

The biotech is working on ex vivo hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy, with R&D facilities in Pasadena, California, and Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, that will now transfer over to CSL.

For its $91 million, and $300-plus in biobucks, CSL also gets two platform technologies, Select+ and Cytegrity, which are “designed to address some of the major challenges currently associated with the commercialization of stem cell therapy,” according to the company.

This includes the ability to manufacture consistent, high-quality products and to improve engraftment, efficacy and tolerability, it said in a statement. 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.”

“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,” Perreault added.“ 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.”

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Calimmune’s chief, Louis Breton, added: “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.”