Blackstone, Intellia, Cellex to launch company addressing limitations of cell therapies

By Samantha Black, PhD, ScienceBoard editor in chief

June 22, 2021 -- Blackstone Life Sciences has committed $250 million toward the launch of a new autologous and allogeneic universal chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy company. Also taking part in the launch are Intellia Therapeutics and Cellex Cell Professionals, the parent company of GEMoaB, a clinical-stage cell therapy company.

The new company will combine Intellia's differentiated allogeneic cell platform and CRISPR cell engineering with GEMoaB's clinical-stage universal CAR T platforms. It will be headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and will acquire Cellex's subsidiary GEMoaB with established offices and labs in Dresden, Germany.

Andrew Schiermeier, PhD, current executive vice president and chief operating officer of Intellia, will lead the launch as president and CEO.

The newly formed company will receive an exclusive license to combine Intellia's CRISPR-Cas9 allogeneic platform with GEMoaB's switchable, universal CAR T-cell platforms, UniCAR and RevCAR. Also, GEMoaB will become a subsidiary of the new company and will continue to advance its clinical stage CAR T-cell programs independently. Under the transaction, the new company and Intellia will gain access to Cellex's established cell therapy manufacturing capabilities to accelerate their respective ex vivo programs.

Simultaneously, Intellia and the new company will enter into a codevelopment and cofunding agreement to develop an allogeneic universal CAR T-cell product for an immuno-oncology indication. Intellia will have an additional option to enter a second similar agreement from selected allogeneic universal CAR T-cell therapy products developed under the collaboration.

"As the sole founding investor, Blackstone will be actively involved in building this platform, leveraging our deep expertise in oncology and our scale capital," said Nicholas Galakatos, PhD, global head of Blackstone Life Sciences.

Blackstone Life Sciences, Intellia, and Cellex will each have equal ownership of the new company. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

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