Gilead Sciences and Kite to Acquire Cell Design Labs

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Gilead Sciences will acquire Cell Design Labs to further cell-therapy research and development efforts.

On Dec. 7, 2017, Gilead Sciences and its cell-therapy subsidiary Kite Pharma announced an agreement to acquire Cell Design Labs, a pre-clinical stage biotherapeutics company specializing in custom cell engineering. Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will acquire all outstanding shares of Cell Design Labs, which include the approximately 12.2% shares of Cell Design Labs that are currently held by Kite, for up to approximately $567 million. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close shortly.

The agreement includes an initial upfront payment of approximately $175 million, subject to certain adjustments, and additional payments of up to $322 million that will be paid to the shareholders of Cell Design Labs other than Kite based on certain events occurring, including the achievement of development and approval milestones. The transaction will build on Gilead’s recent acquisition of Kite in August 2017, and has the potential to help both organizations accelerate the development of next-generation cellular therapy candidates.

“We are excited about the potential of the synNotch and Throttle technology platforms and the application of these technologies to complement ongoing Kite research and development efforts,” said John F. Milligan, PhD, president and CEO at Gilead, in a company press release. “This acquisition demonstrates our deep commitment to continuing to invest in future innovation in the field of cellular therapy, both internally and externally. Cell Design Labs’ talented team of cell biology experts will augment and accelerate our work to bring forward new generations of CAR T and TCR therapies, building on our acquisition of Kite earlier this year and our efforts to improve care for people with advanced cancers.”


“Our growing understanding of molecular networks now allows us to engineer cells with novel behaviors, including therapeutic immune cells programmed to precisely recognize and treat cancer,” said Wendell Lim, PhD, scientific founder at Cell Design Labs and chair of the department of cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California, in a company press release. “This transaction has the potential to significantly advance the field, ultimately leading to the development of transformative treatments for cancer and other complex diseases.”

Source: Gilead Sciences