Big Board Alerts

AstraZeneca to acquire Gracell

AstraZeneca has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Gracell Biotechnologies, a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cell therapies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases.

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.”

Gracell will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of AstraZeneca, with operations in China and the US.

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.

The upfront cash portion of the consideration represents a transaction value of approximately $1bn. Combined, the upfront and potential contingent value payments represent, if achieved, a transaction value of approximately $1.2bn. As part of the transaction, AstraZeneca will acquire the cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments on Gracell’s balance sheet, which totalled $234.1m as of 30th September 2023.

 

Latest Articles

DON’T MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN OUR MARKET SUMMARY REPORT FOR A LIMITED TIME

By submitting this form on our website, you agree that we may collect and use your personal information for marketing, and for other purposes as set forth in our privacy policy, which we encourage you to review.