Two European cell therapy companies merge

Belgium's TiGenix and Spain's Cellerix, both cell therapy-focused biotechs, have decided to merge their operations. The combined company will have $33 million on hand to support its pipeline.

Cellerix has a clinical stage pipeline of cell-based products for inflammatory and autoimmune indications and recently completed a successful Phase IIa study in complex perianal fistula in Crohn's patients. Cellerix has received authorization to start a Phase I/II study in rheumatoid arthritis. TiGenix is exploring the use of regenerative medicine to develop local treatments for damaged and osteoarthritic joints, according to its website. Its lead commercial product is ChondroCelect for cartilage regeneration in the knee.

The combined company will have about 80 employees at four sites around Europe. It will also boast commercial and manufacturing infrastructure for advanced therapies, a clinical-stage pipeline of regenerative and immunemodulatory products, and two stem cell platforms to feed pipeline development. The new group will initially focus on damaged and arthritic joints. Cellerix CEO Eduardo Bravo will retain that position in the new company; TiGenix CEO Gil Beyen will be named chief business officer.

"This consolidation between the two leading European stem cell companies represents an important step in our strategy of becoming a powerhouse in the field of regenerative medicine and cell therapy," Beyen said in a release. "Cellerix' stem cells technology is one of the very few allogeneic stem cell platforms that have been approved for and used in human clinical trials. We believe that Cellerix' stem cell platform is a great fit for TiGenix allowing us to accelerate our path to off-the-shelf allogeneic cell based products and to rapidly broaden our therapeutic scope to other area's of high unmet medical need."

- here's the release on the merger