Novartis has proposed to acquire French contract development and manufacturing organizations (French CDMO) CellforCure from LFB for an undisclosed price.
CellforCure is engaged in producing cell and gene therapies across Europe.
The deal proposed by Novartis includes the cell and gene manufacturing facility in Les Ulis near Paris and the related adjacent land.
If the deal goes through, CellforCure will be a wholly owned Novartis manufacturing site. It will join the network of cell and gene therapy sites of the Swiss drug maker located in Morris Plains, New Jersey, US and Stein, Switzerland, where construction is going on as planned.
In July this year, Novartis signed an agreement with CellforCure for the production of CAR-T cell therapies such as Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) which has been approved for two distinct, difficult-to-treat cancers in the US, European Union, Canada, Switzerland and Australia.
Novartis said that it has successfully wrapped up technology transfer with CellforCure and expects Kymriah clinical supply production to commence by mid-2019.
Recently, the Swiss drug maker, in order to bolster and grow its cell and gene manufacturing, had entered into a licensing, collaboration and share purchase agreement with Cellular Biomedicine Group (CBMG) to manufacture and supply Kymriah in China. It has also expanded a partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany for the manufacturing of the gene therapy for clinical trials and post approval manufacturing, along with forging a contract manufacturing collaboration in Japan.
Commenting on the proposed Novartis acquisition of CellforCure, Steffen Lang – Novartis Global Head of Technical Operations, 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. We are excited about the possibility of adding the significant experience of CellforCure to our existing leadership in pioneering research, development and supply of cell and gene therapies.”
The proposed acquisition is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019 based on usual and customary closing conditions such as employee consultation process and required regulatory approvals.