Biotech companies Sangamo Therapeutics and TxCell may soon be coming together in a €72 million deal. Sangamo plans to first acquire a majority stake in TxCell, at which point the remaining shares will be purchased at a price of €2.58 apiece.
However, the deal is conditional on a meeting a few terms, not least of which is the fact that US-based Sangamo will need to adhere to certain regulations regarding investment in foreign companies since TxCell is based in France. However, if all goes to plan, the deal could come to a close in late 2018.
“We are thrilled to announce this proposed acquisition which would combine TxCell’s Treg expertise with our ex vivo gene editing capabilities, positioning Sangamo as a leader in the emerging field of CAR-Treg cell therapy,” said Sandy Macrae, CEO of Sangamo. “We believe CAR-Treg therapies will prove to be as exciting for immunology as CAR-T has been for oncology.”
TxCell is currently focused on developing regulatory T cell (Treg) therapies to treat a range of immunological diseases. Using genetically engineered versions of these cells, Sangamo hopes to use the technology to develop CAR-T cell therapies which could treat Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. The technology could also have applications in preventing transplant organ rejection.
Compared to anti-TNF alpha small molecule and monoclonal antibody drugs currently used to suppress the immune system, CAR-T cell therapies have the potential to induce more targeted immunosuppression which could be better for patients. Sangamo is planning on testing TxCell’s CAR-T therapy for patients undergoing a solid organ transplant in a European Phase I/II clinical trial in early 2019.
“We are excited to combine with Sangamo for their experience and technical expertise in gene-edited cell therapy, and we believe Sangamo’s ZFN editing technology will facilitate the precise genetic modifications needed to create a new class of Treg-based antigen and tissue specific immunosuppressive medicines,” said Stephane Boissel, CEO of TxCell. “Progressing such CAR-Treg products in clinical development and towards commercialization would require expertise and financial resources that were impossible for us to get as a stand-alone business at a reasonable cost.”