Novartis has offered to acquire LFB group company CellforCure, which is specialized in the development of advanced therapy drugs.
CellforCure is a major French contract development and manufacturing organization engaged in the production of cell and gene therapies in Europe.
As per terms of the deal, Novartis will purchase the share capital of CellforCure from LFB, including the cell and gene manufacturing facility in Les Ulis and the related adjacent land.
Based on the acceptance of offer, CellforCure will turn as a wholly owned Novartis manufacturing site and complements the network of cell and gene therapy sites in Morris Plains of New Jersey in the US and Stein of Switzerland.
In July this year, Novartis entered into an agreement with CellforCure for the production of CAR-T cell therapies including Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel).
Kymriah is said to be the first CAR-T cell therapy secured approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat two difficult-to-treat cancers in the US, European Union, Switzerland, Canada and Australia.
Both firms, which have already completed technology transfer, are expected to start Kymriah clinical supply production by mid-2019.
Subject to usual and customary closing condition, the deal is expected to complete in the first half of 2019, if approved.
Novartis technical operations global head Steffen Lang said: “The proposed acquisition of CellforCure is another strategic step in our pursuit of additional manufacturing capacity to make our transformational CAR-T cell therapy Kymriah available to more patients in need around the world.
“If completed, this acquisition also would potentially increase manufacturing capacity for other cell and gene therapies in the Novartis pipeline.”
To enhance its cell and gene manufacturing capability, Novartis recently entered into a strategic licensing, collaboration and share purchase agreement with Cellular Biomedicine Group (CBMG) to produce and supply Kymriah in China.
The company also expanded its collaboration with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute to support manufacturing for clinical trials and post approval manufacturing. It also expanded a contract manufacturing collaboration in Japan.