Blackstone Life Sciences to invest up to $250m in company developing next-generation programmed T cell therapies

Autolus Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation programmed T cell therapies, and Blackstone Life Sciences have entered into a strategic collaboration and financing agreement under which funds managed by Blackstone will provide up to $250 million in equity and product financing to support Autolus’ advancement of its CD19 CAR T cell investigational therapy product candidate, obecabtagene autoleucel (obe-cel), as well as next generation product therapies of obe-cel in B-cell malignancies.

As part of this $250 million transaction, Blackstone is committing to invest $150 million in product financing to support obe-cel development and commercialization, with $50 million payable upon closing of the transaction and the remainder payable based on certain development and regulatory achievements.

Blackstone has also agreed to purchase $100 million of Autolus’ American Depositary Shares (ADS) in a private placement, which is subject to customary closing conditions. In connection with the collaboration, Blackstone received the right to nominate a member to Autolus’ board of directors.

“Autolus is a world-class company with an innovative platform and the potential to deliver best-in-class, lifesaving treatments to patients suffering from cancer,” said Dr. Nicholas Galakatos, Global Head of Blackstone Life Sciences.

“Our investment in these next generation cell therapies exemplify our conviction in the quality and promise of the life sciences sector in the UK. We look forward to building on this investment in the years to come.”

Dr. Christian Itin, Chief Executive Officer of Autolus, said: “We welcome Blackstone Life Sciences to join our drive to change the outlook for leukemia and lymphoma patients, notably those with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“Blackstone’s investment and expertise will support the development and preparation for commercialization of obe-cel and put the program and the Company on a strong financial footing as we are approaching the read-out from the potentially pivotal FELIX clinical trial during the course of 2022.”

“We are excited to collaborate with Autolus in support of their innovative platform pursuing safer, more durable, therapies with the potential to be lifesaving options for patients with ALL and beyond. We see a significant opportunity to improve the outlook for cancer patients who are facing a devastating course of their disease,” said Nicholas Simon, Senior Managing Director of Blackstone Life Sciences.

“This investment continues to build on our conviction in not just innovative cell and gene therapies, but also supporting innovation in the United Kingdom and Europe broadly.”

UK Science Minister George Freeman said: “This is another vote of confidence in the quality of life science in the UK, reinforcing our reputation as a world leader in discovering new cures for currently untreatable diseases like Autolus’ T cell therapy drugs for leukemia.

“Big investments like these give real hope to those suffering from diseases like leukemia – and create high skill jobs & opportunities in the development and manufacturing of treatments to help develop and boost our life science clusters all around the UK.”

Autolus recently announced plans to build a dedicated manufacturing facility in Stevenage, UK to help secure global commercial launch capacity for obe-cel with a 70,000 square foot building.

Moelis & Company LLC acted as financial advisor. Cooley LLP and Cooley (UK) LLP acted as legal advisor to Autolus, and Goodwin Procter LLP acted as legal advisor to Blackstone.

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