Catalent to create major cell & gene therapy player with MaSTherCell acquisition

Credit: Syda Productions

New Jersey drug company, Catalent, is aiming to create an industry-leading cell and gene therapy platform by acquiring  MaSTherCell Global.

The $315 million deal sees Catalent take charge of MaSTherCell Global, a Belgium-based tech-focussed cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organisation backed by Great Point Partners, SFPI-FPIM, and Orgenesis.

“MaSTherCell extends our leadership position in the biotech industry, complements our leading gene therapy offering, and allows us to deliver comprehensive development, manufacturing, analytical, fill-finish, and clinical supply solutions for innovators across the large molecule space,” said John Chiminski, Catalent’s Chair & CEO.

“Both autologous and allogeneic cell therapies provide important new treatment options, with a rising number expected to gain regulatory approval over the coming years. Catalent is well-positioned to combine MaSTherCell’s expert teams and capabilities with our extensive resources and experience in scaling new platforms, and to help MaSTherCell build-out its development and commercial manufacturing capabilities.”

Founded in 2011, MaSTherCell has a 25,000 sq ft facility in Gosselies, Belgium providing clinical services, and construction is in progress on a dedicated 60,000 sq ft adjacent commercial-scale production and fill-finish facility, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021 and ultimately add over 250 new jobs to the current team of over 240.

Its 32,000 sq ft US facility in Houston, Texas, upon completion of validation activities, will focus on development-scale projects and will employ a team of over 50 experts before the end of the year.

MaSTherCell’s experience includes therapies based on chimeric antibody receptor-engineered T cells (CAR-T), T cell receptors (TCR), tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL), and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC).

Catalent is funding the all-cash deal with either a partial drawn down of its revolving credit facility or the proceeds from future capital-raising activity. As part of those activities, it has obtained $200 million of committed financing from JPMorgan Chase Bank.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of Catalent’s 2020 fiscal year.