Amount: $250 million
Round: Series A
Investors: Celgene, United Therapeutics, Sorrento Therapeutics, Human Longevity, Genting Group, the Dreyfus Family Office, Section 32, Heritage Group
The scoop: Celularity uncloaked in February 2018 with $250 million, 200 employees, co-founders who happen to be alumni of Human Longevity and a multifaceted business plan.
Here's the short version: the biotech is working on off-the-shelf cell therapies based on placental cells, aiming to treat both solid tumors and blood cancers. Unlike embryonic stem cells, placental cells are pure enough to be injected into any human, without the risk of rejection.
Celularity’s lead program, CYNK-001, is in clinical trials for multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia, and it's nearing the IND stage for glioblastoma. It's also under study for other types of cancer.
“[Placental] cells act as nature’s repair kit," Celularity CEO Bob Hariri, M.D., Ph.D., said at the time, adding that replenishing stem cells with "repair kit" cells could help humans live longer.
“We believe that the technology being created in cellular medicine today may allow the next generation to grow up in a world where cancer can be managed as a chronic disease,” Hariri said.
Hariri founded and led Celgene’s Cellular Therapeutics unit in addition to co-founding Human Longevity.
As for Celularity’s business plan, it sets the company up to earn some revenue even as it pushes its clinical and preclinical programs forward. It already owns and operates LifeBankUSA, where parents can bank their children's placental stem cells and cord blood, as well as the functional regeneration products BIOVANCE and Interfyl, which are made from placental tissue and used to treat severe burns and wounds. Celularity expects to reel in about $40 million from these parts of its business, an uncommon boost for a young biotech.