Kiadis creating leader in cell-based cancer immunotherapy with CytoSen buy

Exelixis & Aurigene to develop novel cancer therapies
Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin

Dutch biopharma Kiadis Pharma is acquiring US-based CytoSen Therapeutics to create a leader in cell-based cancer immunotherapy.

Privately held CytoSen has developed a proprietary natural killer (NK)-cell platform to enable NK-cell therapy with broad anti-cancer potential.

It was founded on technology exclusively licensed from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and further developed at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH).

The company’s founders, including Dean Lee, Stefan Ciurea and Robert Igarashi, are leading physicians and scientists at NCH, MDACC and UCF respectively.

Following the transaction, Dr. Carl June, a pioneer in the development of CAR T-cell therapy and current scientific advisor to CytoSen, will join Kiadis’ Scientific Advisory Board.

The combined company has a complementary development pipeline focused on improving outcomes for patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT).

Kiadis’ lead T-cell product ATIR101 is in EU registration and a global Phase 3 clinical trial;  CytoSen’s lead NK-cell product candidate, CSDT002-NK, building on promising clinical proof-of-concept studies in 25 patients carried out at MD Anderson Cancer Centre, is expected to enter the clinic in the US in 2020.

The unique combination of proprietary and synergistic NK-cell and T-cell therapy platforms has the potential to revolutionize HSCT and enables Kiadis to create a pipeline with novel cancer treatments.

Arthur Lahr, CEO of Kiadis commented:

“Our vision is to leverage the strengths of the human immune system to help patients with life-threatening diseases,” said Kiadis CEO Arthur Lahr.

“With the addition of CytoSen, we can create cell therapy treatments that combine the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system.

“The ATIR T-cell and CSDT002-NK-cell programs each have the potential to make transplants safer and more effective. In combination, they have the potential to revolutionize HSCT, making it suitable for an even wider group of patients.”

The deal is subject to Kiadis’ shareholder approval and customary closing conditions.