Galapagos to acquire CellPoint and AboundBio to accelerate access to next-generation cell therapies

Galapagos NV, CellPoint and AboundBio have entered into definitive agreements with Galapagos, propelling Galapagos into next-generation cell therapy while significantly broadening its portfolio and capabilities.

Through the acquisition of CellPoint and AboundBio, respectively, Galapagos gains access to an innovative, scalable, decentralized and automated point-of-care cell therapy supply model as well as a next-generation fully human antibody-based therapeutics platform.

Combined and supported by Galapagos as a fully integrated biopharma, they have the potential to disrupt the CAR-T treatment paradigm. The goal is to expand the current market for CAR-T therapies and have an important impact on patients in need of additional and improved treatment options.

CellPoint has developed, in a strategic collaboration with Lonza, a novel point-of-care supply model, which offers the potential for efficient, 7-day delivery of CAR-T therapies and avoids complex logistics, thereby addressing important limitations of current CAR-T treatments. The proprietary platform consists of CellPoint’s end-to-end xCellit workflow management and monitoring software and Lonza’s Cocoon system, a closed, automated manufacturing platform for cell and gene therapies.

Clinical studies with the CellPoint decentralized supply model have been approved by regulatory authorities in Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands. Two Phase 1/2a studies in rrNHL and rrCLL with a CD19 CAR-T product candidate are currently ongoing with topline results expected in the first half of 2023, providing the opportunity for a rapid clinical validation of the CAR-T point-of-care supply model. In a next step, the aim is to leverage CellPoint’s platform for novel CAR-Ts originating from AboundBio’s unique fully human antibody-based library and biological drug discovery and engineering capabilities, with the goal of bringing three additional differentiated, next-generation CAR-T candidates in the clinic over the next three years.

“With the transactions announced today, we position ourselves as a potential innovator in CAR-T, while building a strong foundation from which we can drive continued innovation for patients with advanced cancers who are in need of new treatment options. Our goal is to bring three differentiated, next-generation CAR-T candidates into the clinic over the next three years,” said Paul Stoffels, MD, CEO of Galapagos.

“This is a first key step in our strategic transformation to accelerate and diversify our pipeline with the aim to create short- and long-term value through focused external growth. We continue to explore additional business development opportunities to further leverage our internal capabilities and renew our portfolio, and we expect to communicate a detailed update on our corporate strategy and portfolio later this year. With the support of our collaboration partner Gilead, we warmly welcome the CellPoint and AboundBio teams to Galapagos, and together we look forward to potentially bringing transformational medicines to patients worldwide.”

“We are excited to become part of Galapagos to accelerate the development, commercialization and scale-up of our cutting-edge vein-to-vein CAR-T delivery model. Despite the progress with current CAR-T therapies, long lead times, highly manual central manufacturing, and complex logistics remain the limiting factors for large-scale capacity and broad patient access. Our novel decentralized manufacturing and supply model is designed to address these limitations and deliver CAR-T cells at point-of-care, in or near the hospital, thereby offering the potential to significantly shorten time to treatment to one week as compared to the current industry standard of over a month,” added Dr. Tol Trimborn, co-founder and CEO of CellPoint.

“We are thrilled to join Galapagos to accelerate our research and realize the full potential of our innovative science. Our next-generation of fully human, multi-paratopic and multi-specific CAR-T constructs offer the potential for deeper, more durable responses to treatment as well as retreatment for relapse following previous CAR-T cell therapy. Combined with CellPoint’s decentralized point-of-care delivery model, we aim to broaden patient access and ultimately change patients’ lives. We are impressed by the leadership and expertise at Galapagos and look forward to our exciting journey ahead,” concluded John Mellors, MD, CEO of AboundBio.

Under the terms of the agreements, Galapagos is to acquire all outstanding shares of CellPoint and AboundBio in an all-cash transaction against payment of an upfront amount of €125 million for CellPoint, with an additional €100 million to be paid upon achievement of certain milestones, and against payment of an amount of $14 million for AboundBio.

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