Promethera expands pipeline with acquisition of Cytonet assets

The deal broadens the number of indications Promethera's pipeline addresses and gains it a new, staffed facility in Durham, N.C.

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MONT-SAINT-GUIBERT, Belgium—Biotechnology company Promethera Biosciences SA has announced the acquisition of key assets from Cytonet GmbH & Co KG, an international cellular therapy company involving primary human hepatocytes. The purchase will make Promethera the world's leading, most advanced cell therapy and regenerative medicine company targeting liver diseases, boosting the company's efforts of developing stem cell therapies for the treatment of inborn liver metabolic diseases and acquired liver diseases with high unmet medical needs.
Per the terms of the transaction, the Cytonet assets were acquired in exchange for share of Promethera, and as a result, the Hopp family, Cytonet's lead shareholder, will hold up to 13 percent of the share capital after the transaction is finalized.
"This acquisition by Promethera is the result of a new vision and an ambitious strategy I introduced to the company from early 2015. This strategy was designed to make it the global leader in liver regenerative medicine with a clear goal of pipeline expansion and offering superior therapeutic options in the liver space based on solid science and innovation. This strategic transaction strengthens our position as the leading and most advanced company in this area with headquarters in Wallonia, Belgium and a solid U.S. presence. In addition, Promethera’s acquisition of Cytonet gives us access to a pre-commercialization stage product Heparesc that has a mechanism of action that complements well with our existing portfolio,” said Dr. John Tchelingerian, Chairman and CEO of Promethera. “We now also have access to a great commercially-driven management team and an experienced pool of scientific talents from Cytonet, which we will be incorporating into the Promethera family. We will announce this new management structure in due course.”
With this acquisition, Promethera's pipeline will now hold product candidates target a broader range of liver diseases, including indications such as fibrosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, acute on chronic liver failure and hemophilia. Promethera plans to evaluate additional options to target acute liver failure and liver graft dysfunction in the future.
“The acquisition by Promethera of the Cytonet assets is the key step to build the success of a comprehensive liver cell therapy that is driven by an innovative R&D engine and mindset at Promethera,” said Prof. Etienne Sokal, founder and chief innovation and scientific officer of Promethera. “By combining the many years of experience of our new colleagues, we will address both inborn errors of metabolism in children and acquired liver diseases in adults and will cover a wide range of unmet medical needs for the entire community of liver patients.”
By combining the three different cell products resulting from this expansion, human hepatocytes (Heparesc) and human liver-derived stem cells (HepaStem and H2Stem), Promethera will expand its pipeline and its execution capacities. Adding Heparesc, which is in the advanced pre-commercial stage, to the its product portfolio will enable early commercialization, which is targeted for 2017 through a Canadian market approval process and recognition by other countries.
In addition to the Cytonet assets, through this deal Promethera will also add a facility in Durham, N.C. with a team of 18 employees for organ and tissue processing, product manufacturing and world-class liver sourcing with the largest existing organ procurement organizations network in the U.S., as well as adding seven individuals from Germany to its Belgian headquarters to support the filing of a new drug submission for Heparesc with Health Canada.
“Cytonet has developed Heparesc, a cell therapy to treat neonatal onset UCD patients and we are delighted that this development will be taken forward by Promethera,” Dr. Torsten Hombeck, managing director of Cytonet GmbH & Co KG, commented in a statement. “With the filing for market approval in Canada for Heparesc, Promethera now has the capability to quickly bring an additional important therapy to patients who otherwise have little to no treatment alternatives.”
SOURCE: Promethera press release

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