AstraZeneca to Acquire Gracell Biotechnologies Inc. a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cell therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, furthering the AstraZeneca cell therapy ambition.
The proposed acquisition will enrich AstraZeneca’s growing pipeline of cell therapies with GC012F, a novel, clinical-stage FasTCAR-enabled BCMA and CD19 dual-targeting autologous chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy, a potential new treatment for multiple myeloma, as well as other haematologic malignancies and autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Autologous CAR-T is a type of cell therapy created by reprogramming a patient’s immune T cells to target disease-causing cells, and the manufacturing process for this type of treatment is complex and time-consuming.
The Gracell FasTCAR platform significantly shortens manufacturing time, enhances T cell fitness, and will potentially improve the effectiveness of autologous CAR-T treatment in patients. Future applications of this technology may also include rare diseases.
Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca, said: “The proposed acquisition of Gracell will complement AstraZeneca’s existing capabilities and previous investments in cell therapy, where we have established our presence in CAR-T and T-cell receptor therapies (TCR-Ts) in solid tumours. GC012F will accelerate our cell therapy strategy in haematology, with the opportunity to bring a potential best-in-class treatment to patients living with blood cancers using a differentiated manufacturing process, as well as exploring the potential for cell therapy to reset the immune response in autoimmune diseases.”
Dr. William Cao, founder, Chairman and CEO, Gracell, said: “We look forward to working with AstraZeneca to accelerate our shared goal of bringing transformative cell therapies to more patients living with debilitating diseases. By combining our expertise and resources, we can unlock new ways to harness the Gracell FasTCAR manufacturing platform, which we believe has the potential to optimise the therapeutic profile of engineered T cells, to pioneer the next generation of autologous cell therapies.”
Under the terms of the definitive agreement, AstraZeneca will acquire all of Gracell’s fully diluted share capital (including shares represented by ADSs) through a merger for a price of $2.00 per ordinary share in cash at closing (equivalent to $10.00 per ADS of Gracell) plus a non-tradable contingent value right of $0.30 per ordinary share (equivalent to $1.50 per ADS of Gracell) in cash payable upon achievement of a specified regulatory milestone.
Gracell Biotechnologies Inc. (“Gracell”) is a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering and developing breakthrough cell therapies for the treatment of cancers and autoimmune diseases.
Leveraging its innovative FasTCAR and TruUCAR technology platforms and SMART CART™ technology module, Gracell is developing a rich clinical-stage pipeline of multiple autologous and allogeneic product candidates with the potential to overcome major industry challenges that persist with conventional CAR-T therapies, including lengthy manufacturing time, suboptimal cell quality, high therapy cost, and lack of effective CAR-T therapies for solid tumors and autoimmune diseases.
AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases, and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.