Celyad sells its production unit to Cellistic - Companies

Celyad sells its production unit to Cellistic – Companies

Mont-Saint-Guibert biotech is refocusing on research work, with encouraging prospects. The staff of its production unit (30 people) will be taken over by Cellistic.

The year 2022 is decidedly hectic for Celyad. The biotech of Mont-Saint-Guibert has indeed experienced in a few months the suspension of the study on a therapy against cancer (after the death of two patients), the departure of its CEO Filippo Petti and now the sale of its Mont-Saint-Guibert production unit to Cellistic, a subsidiary of the Dutch-American group Ncardia, dedicated to the production of cell therapy equipment on behalf of third parties (CDMO). This transaction brings six million euros to Celyad.

Michel Lussier, co-founder and interim CEO of Celyad, nevertheless says he is “more confident than ever” in the company’s potential. At the beginning of the year, we welcomed the arrival in our capital of the American group Fortress, which invested 32 million dollars there, he explains. This group follows a particular business model: it values ​​upstream research and intellectual property when most funds focus more on clinical developments. This model corresponds to the strengths of Celyad which has, with its new shRNA platform, aa very promising technology in the field of CAR-T cell therapies (lymphocytes programmed to fight more effectively against cancer cells). “In the biotech sector, phase 2 and 3 clinical studies are very expensive and have a low success rate, continues Michel Lussier. We are de-risking our strategy by emphasizing where we are best, ie the development of intellectual property and research.“Celyad will therefore focus on these points, for which it employs 70 people. It will seek partnerships or licensing agreements for the subsequent stages of development of a therapy.

A good year ahead

The operation, added to the contribution of Fortress at the beginning of the year, provides Celyad with the necessary cash for a good year. By then, the company should have hired a new CEO (Michel Lussier, serial investor, wants his position to remain interim) and probably generated new data. The FDA (American agency) has indeed authorized the resumption of clinical studies for its treatment against cancer. Celyad will carry it out with cells produced in its unit and which have been cryopreserved.

According to Michel Lussier, the sale of the production unit does not thwart the development of the company. This unit had indeed been calibrated for autologous products (the patient is treated from his own cells). However, since then, Celyad has focused on an allogenic approach (products developed from healthy donors) and its 1,000 m² factory therefore found itself in overcapacity. This corresponds perfectly to the needs of Cellistic, a CDMO launched by Ncardia last spring, already present at the Biopark in Gosselies and which was seeking to develop in Wallonia. By joining forces, we not only have the talent and resources to continue developing our proprietary platformsbut also the ability to enable Cellistic’s partners/customers to offer their patients allogeneic cell therapies based on iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cells, Cellistic’s specificity, editor’s note) more quickly”, company founder and CEO Stefan Braam said in a statement.

The year 2022 is decidedly hectic for Celyad. The Mont-Saint-Guibert biotech has indeed known in a few months the suspension of the study on a therapy against cancer (after the death of two patients), the departure of its CEO Filippo Petti and now the sale of its unit production plant in Mont-Saint-Guibert, to Cellistic, a subsidiary of the Dutch-American group Ncardia, dedicated to the production of cell therapy equipment on behalf of third parties (CDMO). This transaction brings six million euros to Celyad. Michel Lussier, co-founder and interim CEO of Celyad, nevertheless says he is “more confident than ever” in the potential of the company. “At the beginning of the year, we welcomed the arrival in our capital of the American group Fortress, which invested 32 million dollars there, he explains. This group follows a particular business model: it values ​​research in upstream and intellectual property when most funds focus more on clinical developments.” This model corresponds to the strengths of Celyad which has, with its new shRNA platform, a very promising technology in the field of CAR-T cell therapies ( lymphocytes programmed to fight more effectively against cancer cells). “In the biotech sector, phase 2 and 3 clinical studies are very expensive and have a low success rate, continues Michel Lussier. that is to say the valuation of intellectual property and research.” Celyad will therefore focus on these points, for which it employs 70 people. It will seek partnerships or license agreements for the subsequent stages of therapy development. The operation, added to the contribution of Fortress at the beginning of the year, ensures Celyad the necessary cash for a good year. By then, the company should have hired a new CEO (Michel Lussier, serial investor, wants his position to remain interim) and probably generated new data. The FDA (American agency) has indeed authorized the resumption of clinical studies for its treatment against cancer. Celyad will carry it out with cells produced in its unit and which have been cryopreserved. According to Michel Lussier, the sale of the production unit does not thwart the development of the company. This unit had indeed been calibrated for autologous products (the patient is treated from his own cells). However, since then, Celyad has focused on an allogenic approach (products developed from healthy donors) and its 1,000 m² factory therefore found itself in overcapacity. This corresponds perfectly to the needs of Cellistic, a CDMO launched by Ncardia last spring, already present at the Biopark in Gosselies and which was seeking to develop in Wallonia. “By joining forces, we not only have the talent and resources to pursue the development of our proprietary platforms, but also the ability to enable Cellistic’s partners/customers to bring allogeneic cell therapies to their patients faster. CSPi (induced pluripotent stem cells, the specificity of Cellistic, editor’s note)”, said the founder and CEO of the company Stefan Braam in a press release.

.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.