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Cellex Cell Professionals and Intellia Therapeutics Launch New CAR T-Cell Company; Company Introduced as AvenCell Therapeutics

Executive Summary

Intellia Therapeutics and cell product manufacturer Cellex Cell Professionals, the parent company of GEMoaB GmbH, have created a new as-yet unnamed company to combine GEMoaB’s clinical-stage universal CAR-T platforms with Intellia’s differentiated allogeneic cell platform and CRISPR cell engineering. The new company will be headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and will acquire GEMoaB GmbH with established offices and labs in Dresden, Germany. GEMoaB is developing a switchable universal platform to improve the therapeutic window of CAR T-cell therapies. This approach enables increased efficacy and safety across a range of cancers, including solid tumors, that are currently a challenge for existing cell therapies. In addition, the new company and Intellia will gain access to Cellex’s established cell therapy manufacturing capabilities to accelerate their respective ex vivo programs. Andrew Schiermeier, Ph.D., current Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Intellia, will lead the launch as President and Chief Executive Officer. Blackstone Life Science has agreed to be the sole founding investor in the newco, with a $250M committment. 

Update 02/24/2022

In its 10-K filing, Intellia revealed that the new company has been named AvenCell. Upon finalization of the transaction, Intellia entered into two agreements with AvenCell: a license and collaboration agreement under which Intellia will collaborate to develop allogeneic universal CAR-T cell therapies and granted AvenCell a license to develop and commercialize genome edited universal CAR-T cell therapies (limited to its use with their switchable, universal CAR-T cell UniCAR and RevCAR platforms); and a co-development and co-funding agreement under which Intellia will co-develop and co-commercialize allogeneic universal CAR-T cell products for an immuno-oncology indication. (Intellia will lead commercialization in the US while AvenCell will lead in key European countries.) In addition to the license, Intellia will collaborate with AvenCell on at least seven universal CAR-T cell products that combine Intellia's allogeneic T cell technology with AvenCell's switchable, universal CAR-T cell technology. Intellia will also have one additional option to enter into a second co-development and co-funding agreement from selected allogeneic universal CAR-T cell therapy products that the parties intend to develop for a payment of $30M to AvenCell. In exchange for the license, Intellia received a 33.33% equity interest in AvenCell at the time of the initial closing. Blackstone and Cellex also have equal stakes.

Update 03/30/2022

A review of AvenCell's website notes that GEMoaB was renamed AvenCell Europe, and operates as a division of AvenCell Therapeutics.

Deal Industry
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Biotechnology
    • Gene Therapy, Cell Therapy
    • Immuno-Oncology
Deal Status
  • Final
Deal Type
  • Alliance
    • Includes Equity
    • Intra-Biotech Deal
    • Joint Venture
    • R&D and Marketing (Licensing)

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