Adicet inks resTORbio reverse merger, plots financing to fuel CAR-T pipeline

Adicet Bio has struck a deal to merge with resTORbio, bagging itself a Nasdaq listing to support its pipeline of allogeneic gamma delta CAR-T cell therapies. The combined company will take Adicet’s name and focus on its pipeline but will be led by resTORbio CEO Chen Schor.

ResTORbio has been on the ropes since November, when the failure of a phase 3 trial in clinically symptomatic respiratory illness sent its share price down from $9 to $1. In February, resTORbio began to review options including the sale of the company, leading to the deal with Adicet unveiled this week.

The deal will see Adicet land a spot on Nasdaq without going the IPO route. Shareholders in Adicet, which lists OrbiMed Advisors, Novartis Venture Fund, Regeneron and Johnson & Johnson Innovation among its investors, will own 75% of the combined company.

Adicet’s investors pumped $80 million into the company in October and have committed another $15 million to a planned private placement or public offering of at least $30 million. The investment will fund development of a cell therapy pipeline led by anti-CD20 prospect ADI-001. 

IND-enabling activities in support of ADI-001 are underway, moving Adicet toward the point at which it will initiate a phase 1 trial in non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is expected to deliver clinical data next year. The trial will begin the process of revealing whether the tumor control Adicet saw in mice translates into humans and of validating Adicet’s belief it has a differentiated, off-the-shelf cell therapy platform. 

Ultimate responsibility for overseeing the work will fall on Schor, one of three people from resTORbio to land spots on the senior management team of the combined company. Schor will be joined by colleagues Lloyd Klickstein and Joan Mannick, although neither has secured the chief scientific officer and chief medical officer roles they respectively hold at resTORbio. The CSO and CMO positions at the combined company will be filled by Adicet’s Stewart Abbot and Francesco Galimi.