Clinical-stage biotechnology firm BioTime has signed an agreement to acquire the remaining stake in Asterias Biotherapeutics for an undisclosed sum.
The merger of BioTime and Asterias Biotherapeutics will enable to create a major cell therapy company.
As per terms of the deal, Asterias stockholders will secure 0.71 common share of BioTime for each share of common stock of Asterias.
The acquired business will add BioTime with two clinical-stage cell therapy product candidates related to spinal cord injury and immuno-oncology.
BioTime CEO Brian Culley said: “We believe this merger is an exciting opportunity for BioTime’s shareholders to benefit from the potential future value of a more differentiated pipeline as well as the opportunity to impact disease areas that are in desperate need of innovative therapeutic approaches.”
Asterias’ pipeline is comprised of OPC1 phase 2 program for the treatment of severe spinal cord injury and VAC2 phase 1 program for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is being carried out in partnership with Cancer Research UK
OPC1 is a cellular therapy that uses oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), and has showed potentially reparative functions that address the complex pathologies observed in demyelination disorders such as spinal cord injury and multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including multiple sclerosis and white matter stroke.
The OPC1’s reparative functions comprised of production of neurotrophic factors, stimulation of vascularization and induction of remyelination of denuded axons. At present, Asterias is completing a phase 1/2a clinical trial for severe spinal cord injury.
VAC2, which is a non-patient-specific or allogeneic cancer immunotherapy candidate, is being studied in a phase 1 study for the treatment of NSCLC.
VAC2 cells are designed to express a protein widely expressed in tumor cells, and VAC2 antigen presenting dendritic cells guide the immune system to generate responses against tumor cells.
Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2019.
Asterias CEO Michael Mulroy said: “The stock merger structure provides Asterias stockholders the ability to continue their investment in our clinical programs in spinal cord injury and non-small cell lung cancer as part of a larger, more diversified company with greater resources.”